The month of October rolls in with the “Rollin’ Through the Decades” Vintage RV show and astronomy program “Topsail Under the Stars” at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Visitors will be able to stroll through the campground and tour close to one hundred campers from decades such as the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
This is also the time of year that the Florida Black Bears are preparing for the winter. Due to the warmer climate, they don’t hibernate like their northern bear relatives. They do however sleep for periods of time for a denning period which aren’t as long or filled with as deep of sleep as their northern bear relatives. Of course, by prepare for this denning period, we mean exploring for more food to eat and store up body fat to help them while they’re sleeping. To do this they are increasing their diet intake from 5,000 to 20,000 calories a day. That is a lot of food. This means they are a lot more active and possibly even more visible. So, if you’re planning a hike on any of the beautiful trails throughout the park it is important that you be “bear-wise” as you’re sharing the woods with them. There are several signs throughout the park with more information about bears to help you be “bear-wise.” However, as large as the preserve area is you still are bound to be out hiking all day without seeing them at all.
Because the range of a female Florida Black Bear is 15,000 acres and a male Florida Black Bear is 60,000 acres it is important to know how to also be “Bear-Wise” at your own home. There are things you can do this time of year which will help these beautiful creatures stay focused on finding natural foods for their winter preparations. Especially since they have a keen sense of smell. Take in any bird feeders before sunset. Don’t leave out any pet food or water bowls. Putting out your trash just before time for it to be picked up helps as well versus putting it out the night before. If you have a barbecue, make sure to completely clean your grill afterwards.
October also brings the start of the Topsail After Dark series. This series is a unique opportunity for people to experience the park in a new way, nocturnally. It is being kicked off with a monthly campfire program on the fourth Friday of the month. This month the campfire will be on October 25th 6:30-7:30p.m. Participants must make sure to arrive at the park before the gates close at sunset. Stay tuned for more program offerings.
Learning opportunities are abound as well. All the regular favorites continue like Breakfast with a Ranger, Plant Stroll, Art in the Park and the #SundayFunday weekly ranger program. The Topsail Talks series presentation will allow visitors to visually explore the beauty of the artificial reefs in the Florida Panhandle.
As we always say there is something for everyone at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park whether you want to camp, hike, bike, swim or snorkel in the Gulf of Mexico, paddle, learn or volunteer. So, we look forward to seeing you in the park soon!
Topsail Preserve State Park, 7525 W County Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, 850-267-8330.