Please Do Not Walk on Dunes


PLEASE DO NOT WALK ON DUNES

Originally uploaded by Ezra S F

This is a dune next to the drive to the eastern beach area of Fort Clinch State Park on the north end of Amelia Island. Florida’s obsession with people staying off the dunes amuses me.

The two beaches I usually visit are Jekyll Island in Georgia and Mexico Beach in Florida. Jekyll has lots of rocks where the dunes ought to be as protection for their eroding north end. It does still have some smallish dunes on the south end. Mexico Beach trucks in tons and tons of sand to rebuild their dunes after each hurricane strike. This two plus story one feels like what a beach should be.

My favorite dunes are the gypsum ones at White Sands National Monument. We were encouraged to walk on the dunes. My second favorite was the Cumberland Island dune which was the biggest I’ve ever climbed.

5 thoughts on “Please Do Not Walk on Dunes”

  1. Since the barrier islands depend on the dunes for their very existence, and the dunes depend on the fragile dune vegetation for *their* very existence, I think it’s understandable that Florida doesn’t want people stomping on the dune plants. Trucking in sand is expensive and carries its own environmental costs, whereas putting up signs is relatively cheap. White Sands is a desert within a desert, so if you stomped apart a dune it would just pop up somewhere nearby; no existential threat.

  2. Why is the unstable side of the dune (where the sand becomes over-steepened and slips) more difficult to walk on than the rest of the dune? Thanks…..

  3. Dunes are an important part of a barrier island’s ecosystem. We have the highest incidents of erosion where dunes have been removed due to development.

    Also, damaging or removing dunes allows storm surges to travel inland unimpeded. Dunes are held together by sea oats and other maritime vegetation. Tromping on the vegetation can damage and kill it, and harm the dunes, the island’s first line of defense against those aforementioned storms. That’s why, on Jekyll, you’ll see boardwalks in most places where there’s beach access.

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think that the erosion on the north end of Jekyll was caused in part by dredging operations in Jekyll Creek that keeps sand from replenishing the beaches. Wind and wave action then erodes the north end and carries that sand south.

  4. This is where the finest sand particles accumulate. Stepping on this very fine sand allows your foot to sink into the sand several inches.Thanks….

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