Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Proposed Honeymoon Island campsites rile Dunedin residents

DUNEDIN — Good luck finding a supporter here of the state's plan for Honeymoon Island State Park.

Residents are incensed over the surprise proposal to open the popular park, renowned for its natural beaches and wildlife, to overnight camping and recreational vehicles.

"I can just feel the intensity," City Commissioner Dave Carson said. "It's almost like the whole town is vibrating."

A special meeting Thursday at Royal Stewart Arms, a condominium complex close to the park, featured about 50 residents who were "overwhelmingly opposed," commissioners said.

Even more are expected on Tuesday for the state's public hearing on the state parks proposal. It begins at 7 p.m. at the Hale Senior Center, 330 Douglas Ave. in Dunedin.

"We'll be hearing that opposition pretty strongly Tuesday," said Commissioner Julie Scales. Any supporters? "I can count (them) on one hand."

Honeymoon Island is one of 56 state parks targeted for campgrounds, which would be constructed and operated by private contractors. The Honeymoon plan calls for a campground with 45 campsites near the southern beach parking lot.

Residents said they are worried about the potential ecological impact of RVs, generators and crowded campgrounds. Crews would need to move gopher tortoises, cut trees and build stormwater basins to accommodate the campsites, a state Department of Environmental Protection proposal states.

"It's a fragile environment," Scales said. "Considering the impact on the island, I really think it's just a no-brainer."

Also upsetting, residents said, was the lack of prior notice. City leaders said they felt blindsided by the plan, unveiled in early June and scheduled for back-to-back hearings across the state in early July.

"Anything that would be such a drastic change to our island … should at least call for a legislative dialogue, a public forum, at least a contact of city officials," Vice Mayor Ron Barnette said. "The process was shallow, and it reflected some uncritical thinking."

Carson said he has heard a few supporters defending the campsites as good for recreation, and he said he liked that the state was looking for new ways to make money.

But there are ways to do that, he said, without risking the island's preservation.

People "want it to stay as clean, as pristine as it was 200 years ago," Carson said. "We're going to see such an outcry."

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 445-4170 or

. Fast facts

If you go

What: Public hearing on state plan for campgrounds in 56 state parks, including Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Hale Senior Center, 330 Douglas Ave., Dunedin

Proposed Honeymoon Island campsites rile Dunedin residents 07/01/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 1, 2011 8:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Leaves, mountains, ice cream and cheese: What's not to like in Burlington, Vt.?


    If I loved Burlington, Vt., during a visit with my daughter when the high was 37 degrees, I feel completely comfortable recommending the city as a great destination for fall, when it's considered one of the top leaf-watching spots in the world.

    Founded in 1791, the University of Vermont is the sixth-oldest college established in New England.
  2. Puerto Ricans in Tampa Bay wait with dread as Hurricane Maria approaches island


    TAMPA — As Hurricane Maria swirled in the Atlantic Ocean, Sarykarmen Rivera got a phone call from her parents in Puerto Rico. They had an ominous message.

    Sarykarmen Rivera sits for a portrait with a picture of herself and her family in her hometown of Guayama, Puerto Rico, while at the Univision studios in Tampa on Tuesday. Rivera's mother, father, and extended family are currently in Puerto Rico and she worries about their safety as Hurricane Maria approaches. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Early estimates peg Hurricane Irma damage at as much as $65B


    The damage totals from Hurricane Irma are still being tallied, but early numbers are in: As of Tuesday, the storm is estimated to have caused between $42.5 billion and $65 billion of damage. That's according to a Tuesday release by Irvine, Calif.-based analytics company CoreLogic.

    Hurricane Irma is estimated to have caused up to $65 billion in damage, said analytics company CoreLogic. Pictured is 
Hermilo Munoz Castillo as wades down a flooded street to check on his home in southern Collier County, Fla. after Hurricane Irma passed. | [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Port Tampa Bay makes public/private commitment for $60 million expansion project


    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities to divvy up who will pay for a $60 million widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel.

    Port Tampa Bay approved a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Company and Mosaic Company at the port's monthly board meeting on  Tuesday. Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson signs the agreement as Ram Kancharla; Port Tampa Bay's vice president of planning & development, Brandon Burch; project manager at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Lois Moore; of Alcalde and Fay and Charles Klug; Port Tampa Bay principal counsel, and Tim Murphy; deputy district engineer of the Army Corps., looks on. [Company handout]
  5. Hurricane Maria strengthens on way to Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands


    An even stronger Hurricane Maria is moving steadily toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico and is likely to still be a powerful category 5 storm when it arrives.

    [National Hurricane Center]