Fullerton Island Officially Opens in Jupiter

Fullerton Island ribbon-cutting
(front row) SFWMD Governing Board Member Melanie Peterson, Jupiter Councilmember Todd Wodraska, Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal R. Valeche, Palm Beach County Mayor Shelley Vana, Jupiter Mayor Karen Golonka, Parks and Recreation Director Eric Call, FDOT Environmental Scientist David Bogardus; (backrow). FIND Commissioner Charles Isiminger, Environmental Resources Management Director Rob Robbins, County Administrator Bob Weisman, Former Palm Beach County Commissioner Karen Marcus.

On Monday, June 8, District I Commissioner Hal Valeche hosted the grand opening of Palm Beach County’s latest restoration project, the 12-acre Fullerton Island, located in the Town of Jupiter. Commissioner Valeche was joined by Palm Beach County Mayor Shelley Vana, Jupiter Mayor Karen Golonka, Parks and Recreation Director Eric Call, and other state and local partners, to officially open the public-use facilities at the recently-restored Fullerton Island. More than 50 attendees enjoyed a brief boat ride across the Intracoastal Waterway to the island for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The island features public-use amenities which include picnic tables, a shade shelter, an informational kiosk, and a six-slip, day-use dock. On the island, 5.12 acres of mangrove habitat was preserved, 0.54 acres of mangrove and 4.23 acres of seagrass habitat was created, 1.07 acres of upland hardwood hammock infested with invasive nonnative vegetation was restored, and an additional 0.30 acres of hammock habitat was created.

Funding partners include Palm Beach County, the Town of Jupiter, Florida Inland Navigation District, Florida Department of Transportation, and South Florida Water Management District. View the Project Fact Sheet: http://www.co.palm-beach.fl.us/erm/downloads/pdf/projectfactsheets/FullertonIslandfs.pdf

See more photos in our Facebook album.

FIND check presentation
Florida Inland Navigation District Commissioner Charles Isiminger and Assistant Executive Director Janet Zimmerman, presented a check for $794,030 for the Fullerton Island Restoration Project to County Commissioner Hal R. Valeche.

Nine Miles of Equestrian Trails Officially Open in Okeeheelee Park

exploring the trail system on horseback
County officials joined together with the local horse community to officially open more than 9 miles of equestrian trails in Okeeheelee Park on Sunday, May 31.

On Sunday, May 31, Palm Beach County officially opened more than nine miles of new equestrian trails in Okeeheelee Park South with an early morning ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by Commissioner Paulette Burdick. Among the nearly 100 attendees were about 50 who participated in the event on horseback.

“Palm Beach County has historically been an agricultural and equestrian community, and this project furthers our commitment to support our history and to provide top-notch horseback riding experiences for local equestrian enthusiasts,” said Commissioner Burdick.

Development of the trails included extensive removal of exotic vegetation. The resulting scenic system of equestrian trails offers equestrians a unique opportunity to experience nine distinct local ecosystems: basin marsh, depression marsh, dome swamp, hydric hammock, lakes and ponds, mesic flatwoods, prairie hammock, wet flatwoods, and wet prairie.

“This restoration project eliminates intrusive exotics and also preserves and enhances nine different ecosystems that our children and our grandchildren can learn about and enjoy,” said Commissioner Burdick.

Conceptual Master Plan - Okeeheele Park South
Conceptual Master Plan – Okeeheele Park South

Joining the commissioner were Parks and Recreation Director Eric Call and Peggy Kovacs, an original member of the former Okeeheelee Park Citizens Advisory Committee who served alongside Dr. Jim Brandon, for whom the Equestrian Center is named. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Commissioner Burdick aboard a Palomino named Sonny led the inaugural ride through the new trails.

The park’s master plan includes additional hiking and biking trails, which are well underway, and a canoe/kayak launch. Additional amenities include a playground, restrooms, and picnic facilities.

Okeeheelee Park and Jim Brandon Equestrian Center are operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. The trails are open daily from sunrise to one hour before sunset. There is no charge to use the trails. Visitors are advised to adhere to the posted rules. View the photo album on Facebook.

For more recreational opportunities available through the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, visit www.pbcparks.com.