LEAVE NO TRACE
Leave No Trace is an international program that aims to reduce environmental impacts. Walton County Municipal Code supports this program by requiring personal items to be removed from the beach each night. Personal articles that are found abandoned on the beach one hour after dusk until one hour after sunrise will be removed. Leave No Trace is monitored by TDC Beach Code Enforcement of Walton County.
If you have additional questions, please call Beach Code Enforcement at (850) 622-0000. We appreciate your assistance in keeping the area’s beaches clean and safe for both beachgoers and nesting sea turtles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Leave No Trace?
Leave No Trace is an international program that guides outdoor enthusiasts in their decisions to reduce their impacts while enjoying recreational activities.
What is Walton County Municipal Code, Chapter 22 -- Waterways and Beach Activities?
Walton County has made progress in promoting and enforcing beach code Section 22-54(g), which states:
Personal property on the beach between one hour after dusk and one hour after sunrise. (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to leave an item of personal property on the beach between one hour after dusk and one hour after sunrise, unless a permit has been granted by Walton County.
Why did Walton County enact this ordinance?
The beach ordinance was enacted due to the need for emergency vehicles to navigate the beach more safely year-round and to protect wildlife, such as sea turtles during turtle nesting season which occurs annually from May to November. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission mandate to coastal counties that obstacles on the beach at night be prohibited. This is in effect at other Florida beaches and is being more strictly enforced because of the large decline of turtle nests being recorded.
What is the Walton County Tourist Development Council’s (TDC) role in the program?
Visit South Walton has been tasked by the Board of County Commissioners to educate visitors and residents about the Leave No Trace Ordinance. Visit South Walton acts as beach ambassadors and stewards of the program and offers information to educate beachgoers on the importance of keeping our sugar-white sand clean, safe and habitable for sea turtle nesting. Community awareness is meant to ensure beachgoers, locals and visitors, in general, are in compliance with Walton County laws.
What is the TDC Beach Maintenance department's role in the program?
TDC Beach Maintenance will remove abandoned items from public property. Any other areas are enforced by Walton County Code Enforcement, who can be contacted at (850) 622-0000.
Can a person recover the items that have been removed?
No. Walton County Municipal Code Section 22-54(g)(3) states:
Abandonment. Any item of personal property which remains on the beach between one hour after dusk and one hour after sunrise, unless a permit has been obtained from the county by the owner or person in possession and control of the item, shall be deemed abandoned and shall become the property of the county which may dispose of the item in accordance with Florida Statutes.
Is there anywhere else beachgoers can place their personal items?
For those who own or are renting beachfront property, personal items may be placed in a neat bundle at the toe of the dune.
Can you place items under the beach accesses and walkovers?
No. Any personal items left under or attached to a public beach walkover will be considered abandoned and removed.
Do you need to get a permit for kayaks or larger items?
No. There are no permits for larger items and may be placed neatly at the toe of the dune.
Can you obtain a permit for large items, permanent structures and vendor boxes?
Yes, there is a permit that can be obtained for permanent structures and large items such as sailboats. These requests will be reviewed to ensure that the structure or item does not impact sea turtle nesting and does not supersede any state or federal permits. For more information, contact code enforcement at (850) 622-0000.