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Events at St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve

Bay Day


St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve
3915 Highway C-30
Port St. Joe, FL 32456
(850) 229-1787

Date and Time

  • Sat, Oct 5, 8 am - 5 pm, EST


Visit St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve on October 5 for Bay Day! The day will have a variety of tours (walking, wading, tram and kayak), a low country boil, live music and a sunset boat cruise. Reservations will be taken in advance for all the field trips before 10 am, the sunset cruise (Oct 1 - 5 only) and kayak trips. The boat and kayak trips are weather dependent and there is a suggested $10 donation for kayak trips and a $25 donation for the sunset cruise. All times are EST. Call (850) 229-1787, ext 1; leave a message. We will return your call.

Backwoods Tour of the Buffer Preserve
  • 10 - 11:30 am
  • 12 - 1:30 pm
  • 2 - 3:30 pm

Experience the back county of the Buffer Preserve with buffer preserve staff as you ride in a tram for a trip to remember. You will get a good view of recently burned areas to see the dramatic post-fire flowering of grasses and wildflowers and the butterflies and other life that is attracted to these areas. Hear about the history of this land and the importance of fire to the resident plants and animals. Learn about research taking place in the Preserve that is uncovering information about fire and water over the past hundreds and thousands of years. This is mostly a riding trip with short walks interspersed and covers many areas within the heart of the Buffer Preserve. Riding in the new tram you will enjoy seeing areas of the Buffer Preserve the ordinary visitor misses out on. Your trip Leader will talk about the history of the land; point out how controlled burn is beneficial to the Preserve. They know about the resident plants and the animals that call the Preserve home and will show how controlled burn helps them. Research done on the Preserve is important and your leader will enlighten you on how it works to improve the Buffer preserve. You will get to stretch your legs as you go on short walks in between the enjoyable tram rides into the heart of the Buffer Preserve.

Birding Tours
  • 8 - 11 am: Car Caravan Tour
  • 9:30 - 11 am: Deal Tract
  • 12 - 1:30 pm: Deal Tract

Birding at the Deal Tract: Join Matthew Anderson for a birding and plant identification tour of the Deal Tract. Matthew will help you learn to identify birds by their calls and habits, as well as discuss local ecology. This is a fascinating and informative tour. You will be able to see a viewing tower built on the Deal Tract by former owner, Troy Deal, which offers an excellent view of the surrounding area and, on good flight days, an unparalleled view of migrating hawks. Tour meets at the Deal Tract located on Cape San Blas Road just past the Stump Hole (for locals) or the curve with the rock berm on Gulf side (for visitors). This will be approximately 10 miles from the Preserve Center. You may pick up printed directions at the Preserve Center.

Birding at Cape San Blas - Car Caravan Tour: Join Ron Houser, Bay County Audubon Society, who will be leading a 2.5 hour bird tour around St. Joe Bay during Bay Day. Participants should bring binoculars, walking shoes and something to drink. Meet in the parking lot of the Buffer Preserve at 8:00 for an 8:15 departure. Places of interest will be along Hwy 30-E (Cape San Blas Rd), including the Deal Tract and Salinas Park bayside and gulfside. There should be a good assortment of shorebirds, marsh birds, migrants and raptors. Spotting scopes will be available. The trip will include a light to moderate hike through multiple habitats. Birders who are experienced and those just beginning will enjoy this tour.

Kayak Adventures
  • 10 - 11:30 am
  • 12:30 - 2 pm

Start your Kayak Adventure at Happy Hours Kayak and Canoe Outpost with ANERR's Stewardship Coordinator Kim Wren to explore the Bay from a kayak. As your journey begins you will learn about the history of the land and the importance of the surrounding uplands to the preservation of the outstanding water quality and natural resources of the bay. The primary purpose of the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve is to protect and preserve the wetlands and water resources of the adjacent aquatic preserve. By limiting development along the preserve's shores, the buffer prevents additional degradation of the water quality within the preserve. This trip will include a moderate, one-mile round trip hike. We will walk through the woods on sand to the bay so please bring appropriate clothing, footwear, bug spray and water. You will most likely like to bring water shoes or sandals and a towel to dry off with at the end of the excursion. First come, First Served basis.

Explore the Shore at St. Joe Bay
  • 10 - 11:30 am
  • 2 - 3:30 pm

Join Rosalyn Kilcollins, Coastal Training Coordinator at Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, on this field trip beginning at Eagle Harbor featuring an introduction to coastal ecosystems at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park and wading in St. Joseph Bay. Hands-on activities in EagleHarbor at the State Park will be included. "The field trip will include walking, wading in water and pulling nets. It may be hot and could be raining some. Be prepared to get a little wet and to have fun. Wear closed-toe shoes that can get wet. You may also want to bring insect repellent, sunscreen, drinking water, a change of dry clothes, towel, field glasses, hat and camera.

In order to participate in these opportunities, one:

  • Must have the ability to follow visual and/or verbal instructions independently or with the assistance of a companion.
  • Must have the ability to withstand exposure to the outdoors for 1 ½ hours.
  • •Must have the ability to traverse wet, sandy, and uneven terrain for 1 ½ miles.

For tours, the appropriate dress and following supplies are suggested:

  • Cap or hat.
  • Closed toe shoes.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Drinking water.

You may also want to bring a camera.

Additional information is available at the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves or on their flyer.

Last updated: September 26, 2013

  3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 235 Tallahassee, Florida 32399 850-245-2094
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