Politics blackwater river state park

Published on January 28th, 2013 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Help Protect Blackwater River State Park from Oil and Gas Drilling

blackwater river state park

Today’s second post is also a bit unusual for us these days: normally, I leave activism campaigns to others who do it better. But we’ve all got places that are special to us, and Blackwater River State Park in Northwest Florida is one of those for me. I lived in this part of Florida until the age of 12, and have countless memories of good times on the Blackwater River: picnicking, swimming, hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing… it was a wonderful spot for just about any kind of outdoor activity.

The park isn’t just a great recreational spot, though: according to the Nature Conservancy, it’s also one of the last remnants of longleaf pine/wiregrass forest that once covered the Southeastern United States, and a hub of biodiversity. It’s a real gem in a a state overrun with thoughtless development… and now, some want to risk sacrificing it for oil and gas development.

It turns out there’s a pretty sizable oil and gas field under Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties, and drillers want to get at it. State Representative Doug Broxson has put forth a bill – House 431 – that would allow for drilling in the state park. Milton resident Marsha Fuqua has put together a Change.org petition and Facebook community aimed at stopping Rep. Broxson’s bill.

As someone who spent the remainder of his childhood in Southern Louisiana (which I now consider “home”), I’ve seen the damage that can be done to ecosystems from oil and gas exploration and drilling. I’d hate to see this area damaged irreparably, and I definitely don’t want to see toxins from the drilling process leaching into the water and soil of this area. No doubt there’s money to be made for the state, but I hope Rep. Broxson and his colleagues in the legislature consider the value of what’s already there.

If you’ve got any connection to Blackwater River State Park, sign the petition and share your experience – Rep. Broxson receives messages about each signer. And come back and share those experiences with us…

Image credit: Tara R. via photopin cc



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



  • http://www.outdoorgulfcoast.com Shawn

    Blackwater River State Park is one of my favorite recreational areas. I would not like to see drilling in this area either.

    • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

      Thanks, Shawn – it’s good to hear this from folks who still live in the area.

  • http://www.michaelbonnicihomes.com michael c bonnici

    Blackwater river has been practically my second home for over twenty years…I hunt, fish and camp there. I take family there to observe and teach about wild life and wild edible plants native to this region. Having companies allowed to come and exploit the land for minerals is a blatant disregard and disrespect to our Nation and the people. They cannot show proof of doing it safely without harming the eco system. I’m against it all the way.

    • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

      Thanks for chiming in, Michael! Of course, make sure to sign the Change.org petition Martha’s created – Rep. Broxson gets email for every signature.

  • http://www.michaelbonnicihomes.com michael c bonnici

    I’m against anyone exploiting public land for minerals. Blackwater river state park has been almost a secondary home to my family and I for the past 20+ years. I hunt, fish, camp and teach about wild life and wild edible plant native to this region. I am completely against Government allowing companies to dig in this zone. Keep it WAY out at see.

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