Monday, October 1, 2018

Blog post from yesterday for readers who may have missed this. . .

One could say a seemingly mundane topic on this blog yesterday created quite the ‘stir’. Already read this? Thank You once again for visiting and please scroll down.

For everyone else, below is an idea to increase attendance at public parks in Palm Beach County. At first the idea sounds silly. But then when you think more about it. . .

Promoting ecotourism, boosting visits by families, young adults and children to our County and national parks.

Could making PBC the world leader in the treatment of Nature-Deficit Disorder (NDD) be the answer?

Please note, before we proceed:

NDD is not recognized in DSM-5 and has been criticized by malcontents high up in tall buildings as a misdiagnosis that NDD is a “problematic contemporary environmental discourse that can obscure and mistreat the problem.”

NDD was first coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 classic “Last Child in the Woods” meaning that children as reported in Wikipedia, “[A]re spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems” such as careening on skateboards into parked cars and walking around in circles texting.

However, Louv claims that causes for the phenomenon (NDD) include “parental fears, restricted access to natural areas, and the lure of electronic devices.” Bolstering Louv’s claims is research demonstrating the contrast between the declining number of park visits in America and increased use of electronic media by children. Draw your own conclusions about NDD but err on the side of promoting and encouraging more visits to public parks.

Please pause here.

OK. If you haven’t figured it out by now, the information above is a little tongue-in-cheek with a dab of satire.


Could a businessman in Jupiter be on to something? This same businessman cites an actual published book titled, Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, a 2005 best-seller by Richard Louv. Could our public parks in PBC be used as a draw nationwide for treatment of NDD in children and young adults and increasing ecotourism as well?

Continue reading and you decide.

Getting more visitors and tourists to visit our County and national parks in PBC has been a problem for a very long time. The Loxahatchee Sierra Club is one group that has been out in the lead trying to solve this problem at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge located in suburban Boynton Beach. For more information about that is recent news by the acclaimed reporter David Fleshler at the Sun Sentinel.

Now back to the Loxahatchee River in
northern Palm Beach County.

News from Post business reporter Alexandra Clough headlined, “Jupiter businessman Rick Clegg pursues his passion for the outdoors”; two excerpts:

     Clegg, the owner of Jupiter Outdoor Center on Love Street, across from the Jupiter Lighthouse, is expanding his company. In October, Clegg will be offering kayak, canoe and bicycle rentals at Riverbend Park on Indiantown Road.
     In addition, Clegg will tap into Palm Beach County’s growing eco-tourism industry by offering guided tours, including bird-watching tours at Riverbend Park. [emphasis added]
     “Our mission is to create a convenient, safe and fun way for people to experience nature,” Clegg said. “We’ll be giving people more of a reason to come into the park.”
     Clegg is partnering with the River Center, which provides the expertise on the river and its many inhabitants. Educating people about the river isn’t just for adults. Clegg runs day camps for children, too.

and another quote from Clough’s news. . .

     “I [Mr. Clegg] see north Palm Beach County, and especially Jupiter, becoming a known eco-tourism destination that attracts visitors from around the world and continues to provide those that live here an ‘out-of-this-world’ natural experience.”

When asked by the reporter what one of his favorite books is Clegg recommended the best seller The Last Child in the Woods, subtitled Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (NDD).

Clegg’s Jupiter Outdoor Center is located at 1116 Love St. in Jupiter and is open every day of the week from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Call 561-747-0063 and ask about the rental facility opening soon in Riverbend Park for kayaks, bicycles and other popular items.

More information about the Loxahatchee River.

Later in this blog post is a press release and video from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) about the restoration of two historic dams along the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter for the ecosystem of this federally designated “wild and scenic river” for public recreation, e.g., access for kayaking, fishing, ecotourism and helping children with NDD.

Why the Loxahatchee River matters.

The Loxahatchee flows through Riverbend Park in Jupiter (in Palm Beach County) and north into Jonathan Dickinson State Park between Hobe Sound and Tequesta. Both of these parks are wonderful assets with Jonathan Dickinson being the largest state park in Southeast Florida and Riverbend Park having such a long history here in PBC.

Near Riverbend Park, also on the Loxahatchee River, is the popular historical site of Battlefield Park:

Since acquiring the land, the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department’s goal has been to preserve the natural, archaeological, and cultural significance of these properties and to provide access and education to the public. . . . The parks [Riverbend and Battlefield] are also officially recognized as sites of two Second Seminole War battles and were home to pioneers and farmsteaders after those battles.

Press release datelined May 2018,
“SFWMD Completes Restoration of Historic
Loxahatchee River Dams”:

Jupiter, FL — [T]he South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) Water Resources Analysis Coalition [WRAC] received a detailed presentation about the recently completed restoration of two historic dams on the Loxahatchee River in northern Palm Beach County.
     The dams, first built in the 1930s by local families, control and regulate upstream flow stages of the Northwest Fork of the river, the state's first designated “wild and scenic” river. The dams also maintain the hydrology of the riverine floodplain ecosystem. Modeling has shown that without the two dams in place, the upstream water levels would be about 1.5 feet lower, draining the freshwater swamp and encouraging saltwater intrusion.
     “One of SFWMD’s primary missions is the protection of natural systems and these dam renovations are crucial to ensuring the future of the Loxahatchee River," said Governing Board Vice Chair Melanie Peterson, a Palm Beach County resident and former member of the Loxahatchee River Management Coordinating Council. “These dams are not only living parts of Palm Beach County's history, but they are essential to protecting the cypress swamp floodplain that makes the Loxahatchee so unique.”

The video from SFWMD:

For reference: Note the Loxahatchee River Watershed Project (top right) in the map below and the “Mecca Parcel” to the west.

Click on image to enlarge:

Also of note is the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (see WCA 1 on map). The Loxahatchee Sierra Club and SFWMD are working together to control the spread of Lygodium. To learn more
click on this link.

Hope you found this information helpful and, as always, Thank You for visiting today.