Washington Oaks Garden State Park Closing?
Last weekend my fiance and I celebrated our sixth anniversary at the park, gladly donating five dollars each visit for the duration of our relationship, happy to contribute to preserving this national treasure.
When we arrived, we were greeted by a small group with binoculars at the boardwalk, who joyously pointed out the extremely rare and endangered Atlantic right whale not far out at sea. We had never seen a right whale in all of our beachcombing sessions and neither had these whale watchers, who drove far from home just to catch a glimpse. We watched the mother whale and its calf through lent binoculars, feeling a rush of blood and this thrill from what seemed like a miraculous event.
Another miracle was to come. While the fiance was still peering through binoculars, I ventured to the tidepools and discovered multitudes of red starfish clinging to the rocks in low tide. Here's the thing. We have NEVER seen this kind of starfish before, and here they were in droves. Everywhere we looked, there were more sea stars. There must have been hundreds in the small stretch of beach we explored, and many were overturned on the sand and de-legged by gulls.
We saved as many as we could, and worried that the kids on the beach would take them home as souveniers. As it turns out, we were delighted to see that a little girl had also been saving them with her siblings. She could barely contain herself with excitement and showed us her little tidepool rescue operation. The future is in good hands.
Here are some more photos from our trip during the height of tourist season.
Washington Oaks is Northeast Florida's best kept secret, but its time we got the word out and please contact your legislator. I know I will.
What You Can Do
More posts about Washington Oaks
Article on Closures