Less than a year after the Gulf oil spill thrust portions of the Gulf Coast tourism business into recession, the Tourism Development Council in Franklin County, Fla., is taking a major initiative to promote visitation to the Florida Panhandle county.
The council is sponsoring a “Where the Wild Things Are” press tour May 11-15.
Located southwest of Tallahassee, the county encompasses an area coined “Florida’s Forgotten Coast” and supports a population of just over 11,000 yet abounds in tourist sites.
Shari Hubbard of Geiger & Associates Public Relations shared the following information in a media invitation:
Franklin County experienced no adverse effects from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The area supports one of the Northern Hemisphere’s last pristine watersheds; a place of vast natural resources, authentic experiences and unpretentious people. Autumn months bring cooler temperatures and less humidity to this coastal retreat; the summer crowds are long gone, and great values can be found on rental accommodations.
Encompassing three barrier islands (Dog Island, St. George Island and St. Vincent’s Island); Alligator Point and the historic, Victorian-era river cities of Apalachicola and Carrabelle (offering the only deep water port and safe harbor between Tampa and Port St. Joe), Franklin County will never rush you. In fact, there are only two traffic signals in the entire county. A slower pace brings visitors more in tune with nature’s rhythms.
More than 87% of this county is state or federally protected land, helping to ensure that Apalachicola Bay, a nursery area for the entire Gulf of Mexico, remains a pristine and productive estuarine system. Here, you can see the world’s largest natural stand of Tupelo trees (producing the only honey safe for diabetics to consume); the world’s largest concentration of native pitcher plants; a one-of-a-kind dwarf cypress swamp and many endangered and threatened species, including the Florida black bear, jaguarundi, gopher tortoise, red cockaded woodpeckers, red wolves, indigo snakes and West Indian manatee.
Franklin County is on the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways, and in addition to resident species, birders also can see least terns, American oystercatchers, plovers, bald eagles, swallow tail kites, night heron, ospreys, indigo buntings and summer tanagers during annual migration and nesting periods.
Commercial fishing is the basis of the local economy, and includes oysters, clams, blue crabs, shrimp and mullet. This is a fisherman’s paradise—grass flats, surf and offshore fishing yield tarpon, sea trout, flounder, pompano, whiting, redfish and bluefish—more than 186 species of fish in the Apalachicola Bay estuarine system alone. Experienced local charter captains, often multi-generational locals, offer expert guide services for every type of fishing experience.
Hubbard said she anticipates “a large media response to this tour.”