A giant crayfish proudly stands guard over Lynn Haven Park and Preserve, while local school children are delighted to clamber atop it and eager to learn about its real-life—and much smaller—counterpart living along the edges of the park.
Lynn Haven Park and Preserve is a 90-acre recreational facility and wildlife preserve in Lynn Haven, Florida, approved by the Florida Trustee Implementation Group in 2016 and completed in June 2021. For two years, local communities have happily embraced the facility; teachers and schoolchildren use the outdoor educational facilities, while others enjoy the hiking trails, paddle craft launch, fishing piers, picnic pavilions, temporary boat mooring, and a disc golf course.
The park was built to compensate for the loss of recreational facilities and the loss of public access to the water caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In the process of designing the park, though, the Trustees helped protect the Panama City crayfish species - a Federally threatened species - by preserving 60-acres of its habitat onsite.
The Panama City crayfish is found only in southern Bay County, Florida. Unfortunately, due to development, a mere fraction of its original habitat remains. In 2022, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service designated the crayfish as a threatened species and is working hard to protect that habitat from additional losses.
The park’s architect integrated the crayfish into the theme and design of the park by placing a climbing structure resembling a giant crayfish in a prominent spot in the children’s playground. Students at the local elementary school also helped design the park by sketching their ideas for the architect. As for the crayfish, the park’s planners made sure to include educational signs that teach the public about this rare species and the vital habitat preserved onsite.
The park’s design also contributes to flood control and water quality improvements in the local area.
- Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Phase V Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (January 2016)
- Florida Coastal Access Project Fact Sheet
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