Warning! If you walk through this nature preserve YOU WILL DIE! And it will be a horrible death, bitten by snakes and eaten by alligators (which will drown you first). DANGER!
Rusty ignored the sign as did we, for this preserve is lovely and unexpected and a great place to go for a walk if you are in Flagler Beach a town that is full of its own character. And dangerous snakes and whatnot they say. I promise you will be fine if you go for a walk, and you will come away relaxed and sweaty.
It was an overcast day with a threat of rain yet we gaily ignored the clouds and parked the van in the vast spacious parking lot. We took off with a dog and a camera but not an umbrella between us. It is said the gods favor fools and drunks and we weren't drunk.
In a moment I shall dive into the life and times of the redoubtable Betty Steflik but first allow me to point out what an extraordinary trail they have built in her memory. It was of course preceded by a Dire Warning that death lurked in the undergrowth but you may be surprised to learn they exaggerated just a tad. You could argue it was a little much, building a six foot wide swath through the brush but unlike a narrow mysterious trail, here you could roll a wheel chair down here it was that smooth. Even under overcast skies we enjoyed the views, though for me sunshine improves every vista.
I also read the homeless were cluttering up the park and annoying visitors by their presence so the city organized a location for them and guess what? The park has benches and facilities and no trash and no homeless. And no heavy handed police presence either. It can be done apparently. I quite like Flagler Beach.
Informally the redoubtable Betty Steflik set about preserving the coastline and the marshes inside her city where she served 12 years as a city commissioner. The result is startling: not just this lovely spot but also the fact that the coast road -State Road A1A - runs right along the beach, where you can park the length of it and have easy access thanks to Steflik's innovative footbridges that preserve the dunes and the sea oats. There is no construction on the seaward side of the road which difference you will notice the minute you drive out of Flagler Beach and into the neighboring towns of Drearily Normal and Stunningly Normal.
After we arrived back at the town across the endless boardwalk we turned north at the library and paced the Daytona 500 on some nondescript street filled with cars unaccountably anxious to reach their destinations by the thousands. The absence of a sidewalk was glaring and had Betty Steflik been alive I'd have written her a sharp note asking for some pedestrian friendly intervention. Mind you I expect if she were still alive the sidewalk would be there already but perhaps I am unfairly attributing her superhuman powers.