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runningbear #51

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/07/2008 10:45:52Copy HTML

To ctmonline:Don't be discouraged about your plans. There is still a large beach area where thongs may be worn. It is likely that the area now closed will be open by mid summer. It was closed last Spring for the bird nesting season. They put posts out onto the beach area although birds do not nest on the beach. The excuse was that beach-goers would disturb the nesting birds. The posts on the beach were washed away by a storm. The entire beach area has been open for the past nine months. The high handed actions of some government agencies are disturbing  but we can still enjoy the beach.  Have a good vacation!
beachfolks #52

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/07/2008 11:44:58Copy HTML

We may need to, We're not shy, but the concessions area beach is crowded, often windy(no shelter) not at all like the open beach and dunes we have had and we will be continuously under the watchful eye of lots of critical beachgoers.  The best space still left is about 1/2 mile of what is left of open beach just north of the Fort, but the problems are the same, and no dunes or shelter.  I've seen past summer weekend days when the entire beach was fuller than I wanted to see.
Ex_Member #53

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/08/2008 01:49:02Copy HTML

Since our weather has not been the best as of late, I have not been interested in gettig out to the Fort but I will take a drive out this weekend to see exactly what and were they have posted the signs.  Last year when they closed off a large section of beach there was still plenty of open area even along the shore line in front of the roped area to layout.  I hope this is still the same.  I will post what I observed next week.  As far as planning a trip to the Fort for a vacation, any part of the Fort is beautiful especially if you are coming from the North, so keep your plans as the summer is hot and tropical on really any part of the island!G
beachfolks #54

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/08/2008 03:56:33Copy HTML

 We will be traveling -let us know what the final closed space looks like when the construction project is finished. The sineage installation looks very permanant to us and an attempt to even prohibit even runners and beachwalkers and shellers-any traffic.  (an illegal prohibition in the USA)
ctmonline #55

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/08/2008 06:24:17Copy HTML

We'll still be down for vacation August 1-10, we've been going to Fort Desoto every summer for over five years now, sure hope the county isn't trying to mess up this beautiful beach.
beachfolks #56

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/08/2008 06:30:36Copy HTML

 Pinellas has done it before, appears to be doing it again
artas5 #57

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/09/2008 03:41:53Copy HTML

Well our plans are set as well, so I guess we will see. 5 days to go  Weather permitting as well!!  Happy thonging!!!
Beachlover492000 #58

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/11/2008 03:22:21Copy HTML

I was afraid that something like this was going to happen. First they blocked off the trails and plowed them up. Then they cut down the cedar trees. And now they are shutting down the whole beach for "conservation." The conservation thing is just an excuse to end thonging on the beach. I saw the same thing at Moonstone beach in Rhode Island. The authorties can't be honest and discuss the issues. They just give what the blue noses what they want via the back door.
NativeNude #59

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/11/2008 04:47:40Copy HTML

The problem has been going on all over the state, and the country, for several years now with the closing of lesser known locations first and now the best known places under full attack.     Right now House Bill 801 proposes changes to the wording of 800.03 that could jeopardize the protection for naturists afforded by current judicial rulings. Moreover, the bill seeks to add increased penalties under 800.03 in certain locations and during certain times of day. Nudity within 1,000 feet of a "state, county, or municipal park" or "a public beach" would be an automatic felony at any time. The legislation poses an obvious and severe threat to naturists at clothing-optional Florida beaches like Haulover, which is a public beach located within a county park. Other Florida sites would be at similar risk.    It seems that theses control freaks will not be happy with anyone wearing less than board shorts. For the latest  information go to      www.naturistaction.org
JM_Runs #60

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/12/2008 12:09:13Copy HTML

beachfolks #61

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/12/2008 07:50:06Copy HTML

Closing 1/2 mile of the best remote beach has nothing to do with the wearing of thongs. It is the rabid birders and tree-huggers against the beachgoers, boaters and other taxpayers whom they term as polluters. These so-called naturists promote birds and animals over humans at every turn. The facts are DeSoto cannot have a wildlife preserve so long as it is infested with lots and lots of raccoons.  Raccoons are protected in Florida, and will be present and predominant so long as people are present bringing food and leaving scraps and the raccoons also feast on bird eggs, small animals etc..
NativeNude #62

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/13/2008 02:14:09Copy HTML

Well the so called naturists are part of the problem for some areas being closed but the real problem are the socialists, supporters of bigger government, control freaks wanting full control of where we can be, when we can be there and what we can wear. Until recent years simply sunning in minimum attire or less was no big deal, we were innocent of any crimes until someone actually did something illegal, but now their attitude is we are now first guilty of “something” until we prove otherwise. Crime is up and yet we have sheriffs patrolling beaches for “criminals” in thongs or haven forbid a topless gal or someone nude.
Beachlover492000 #63

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/14/2008 03:32:50Copy HTML

You are right about socialists and supporters of big government, NativeNude. A great many thongers think that liberals are their friends, but actually they are the enemy. This is one area where liberals can give the Christian right what they want. So-called environmentalism has been used as an excuse to shut down nude and minimal clothing beaches before. Years ago the courts ruled that Moon Stone Beach in Rhode Island could be a nude because because it had been extablished by "community standards." In come the "environmentalists" because of the bird population. That put an end to the nude beach. Instead of discussing the issues, they banned the nude beach via the back door. They have a nude beach at Gay Head on Martha's Vineyard. There will never be a bird sactuary there because that's were rich lawyers and people like the Kennedys go to play. But for the rest of us all nude beaches must be shut down for the "environment."
Maxtlatl #64

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/15/2008 03:58:27Copy HTML

I'm sorry, but it's ridiculous to blame these shut-downs on either the liberals or environmentalists. Wendell Simpson was neither. What these bureaucratic right-wingers do is use the environment or birds as their excuse to do what they were going to do all along. That way they kill two birds with one stone: get people mad at environmentalists while at the same time enacting their restrictive policies.
runningbear #65

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/15/2008 08:22:31Copy HTML

Beachfolks raises a good point about the closing of one half mile of beach as a "Conservation Area" when he mentions the abundant raccoons at Ft. Desoto. They are so prolific and determined that they are out looking for food as early as 4:00 in the afternoon. The campers are amazed at their ingenuity in opening garbage cans and even coolers. The area restricted could never be a successful bird nesting area. Few birds are seen in the dunes and they do not nest on the beach. Members of the Aububon Society observe that Three Rooker Island (near Tarpon Springs) is a paradise for nesting birds because there are no raccoons or other predators on the island. The raccoons will welcome the bird nesting area at Ft. Desoto and we will see few nests there. The "powers that be" are using "conservation" as a ploy. Were they interested in conservation two years ago when a twelve foot wide swath of mangroves were removed? Was it legal to do so? By what authority was Federal law violated and by whom? The mangroves removed opened a private area at the north end of what is now the "Conservation Area" where a few nude sunbathers found refuge from the many beach walkers during the winter months. We are at the mercy of government agencies who are at liberty to do as they choose.
NativeNude #66

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/15/2008 09:19:24Copy HTML

First of all don’t get hung up on labels such as liberals, conservatives, democrats, republicans, conservationists, etc. Look at their policies first and if they support socialist ideas then stand against them. These control freaks now hide in every part of our society with their main goal of complete control of every part of our lives, especially our money. In their eyes we should not have any rights or freedoms of choice. We are no longer a country of individual rights and freedoms with laws against criminals but a country buried in excessive laws to control the average citizen with bureaucracy to suit special interest groups and corrupt politicians.
JM_Runs #67

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/16/2008 02:42:36Copy HTML

I have said this before, and I will say it again:

It is time for some of you regular De Soto thongers to get involved with the way the park works.  Join the friends of the park association, go to the park management meetings, get hold of park management documents, find out who is behind it and head them off at the pass.

Get with the local bird watchers groups and find if they think it is inportatant.  Get with the local politicos and find out what there issues are. 

People don't generaly go and spend money and effort to put in signs and ropes unless some one some where with some power made a decision based on some set of facts or representations.  Who talked them into it?  Does it make sence for the park?  What other park user groups don't like it?

Get orgnised and take over the rather week and feeble friends of the park association and re-direct it.  That's why I became a board member of my residents association, it was the first line of defence against stupid stuff.

Quit complaining about what they 'might' be up to and find the writen plan.   The best place to stear a sailing ship is from the helm.  Start to gather solid intelegence, forge alances with the actors in the process and make the changes you want.
beachfolks #68

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/16/2008 03:19:25Copy HTML

 Right on Fearless leader. The unfortunate problem is that the power seems to be rather closely held a long ways away at the Pinellas county burocracy in Clearwater. Friends of Desoto is for all purposes inactive-I think it is populated by old(Really old) birders. Yes,my only good info is through a friendly, concientious, but not on our side Pinellas board member(he seems willing to listen). Apparently the board has been fed only one-sided info from Mr. Browning, head of the DeSoto Park management, who runs the park to his liking and gives the board very little and slanted information. As long as there are no problems they are happy and park changes do not generate even so much as hearings that the public sees. I've also been to several recent hearings on other local subjects by the Pinellas planning group where the planning group is devoted to snowing the public with far reaching mandates to save the environment(and birds). We are also facing big problems of a total takeover of the area by the city of St Petersburg, Gigantic toll increases by DOT  and it is about all that our local authorities and the hearing agendas can handle. A petition to stop closing another small island for birds was totally ignored even though it had hundreds of signatures, So we don't stand much chance of a hearing.
NativeNude #69

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/16/2008 03:06:42Copy HTML

I will add a couple of things to what Jm runs said. Just being active often is not enough, try to figure out what the control freaks ultimate plan of attack is. This truly is a battle and strategy is everything. If anyone has any doubt as to how corrupt these people can be just go back and read the history on playalinda beach here. They held secret and last minute meetings, falsified reports, refused to accept other info because it was not from sources they deemed reliable and generally lied thru their teeth. Get hard copies of everything and keep them handy for future use. Get hard copies of anything that supports your side as well. Just remember the old adage : “ How can you tell if a politician is lying??--- his mouth is moving. “ That’s never been more true than today.
tman001 #70

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/18/2008 01:06:18Copy HTML

 I was at the fort with my wife on Saturday 2/16/08.  It was a gorgeous day, and had a fair share of t-backs.   Had a couple of observations -1 -  Limited number of couples -  Only counted three total from 11:30 AM - 4:30 PM.  2 -  Large number of older men (50 plus) in g-string (very small) -  Wife and I are wondering if they are all homosexual - After all who hangs out with there buds at the beach in g-strings. Nothing wrong with this just curious.  3 -  Mixed company -  Noticed a large amount of standard suits mixed amongst us t-backers. Think the closing off of the t-back area has something to do with this. 4 -  noticed some very skimpy g-string on folks and was very surprised to see no sign of a bulge or outline of there package.  Leaves me wondering - are they that small :)   I know for me I find it hard to not show (not that I try to hide it)Overall Had a blast - just wish we'd had more couples in t-back.  Comments welcome. 
Ex_Member #71

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/18/2008 03:01:52Copy HTML

Now that the area is so reduced in size, it sounds like the dynamics have changed from what others have reported in the past. 

Do the older men in very small g-strings cluster together off at one end, fairly away from the regular folks?  That's how it is at my favorite beach in RI. I join them if I'm in the mood for some extreme stringing.  Usually, though, I'm in the mixed company area in either a thong or g-string.  Wife sometimes joins me, but she has to avoid too much sun, so I'm usually alone, and usually the only one with bare buns.  I wish more beaches had more couples like yourselves so there would be a pleasant array of swimsuit types on both sexes. 

For all the upheaval we're hearing about at DeSoto, it still sounds like a very pleasant place for responsible thongers/stringers, and I'll keep it in mind for our travels.  Thanks for your report.
Beachlover492000 #72

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/18/2008 06:33:33Copy HTML

The lack of couples that you noted, tman001, sometimes has to do with health concerns. My wife has rosatia, which is a skin condition. Her doctor has instructed her to avoid the sun. Furthermore, she can't take heat very well. For those reasons she cannot come to the beach with me. As for the older men, of which I am one, the older crowd consists of both gay and straight men. I'm married and straight, and the gay men know that I'm "off limits". Yet I've gotten to know a lot of gay men over years and have spent some very pleasant days at the beach discussing books, movie, plays, politics and even business and economics. One man is in the business making small suitsuits, and it has been interesting to learn how his company operates. It's a ashame that other straight people do not get to know gay people better. It would take care of a lot of misunderstandings. As for the syle of suit, my g-strings are very small, but the suit is also designed not show outlines or bulges. I prefer it that way because while I prefer the sensation of nuidty, I want to avoid overt sexual displays. I wear what makes me feel comfortable given the fact that I'm not wearing very much.
Ex_Member #73

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:02/19/2008 01:05:49Copy HTML

Beachlover, did a double take reading your post, sounded so much like me!  I love it when my wife joins me at the beach, which she'll do for shorter spells (not all day) when I can provide shade, and when there's something else to do, like riding her bicycle around.  Hammonassett State Park on the CT shore is excellent for that.  But she too suffers from rosatia and heat intolerance, so even in the shade is fully dressed and with SPF 60 or 70 liberally applied, while I'm lying out next to her in a thong or g-string, among the regular folks, soaking up the sun.                               At my favorite beach in RI, where I spend the day running, biking, swimming and sunning, I often set up among the regular folks because it feels so normal, which I like, even though I'm usually the only bare buns person around.  Folks seem okay with this and keep pretty much to themselves.                                                                 DeSoto, in it's reduced expanse, nevertheless sounds like a great place for couples like us, so I hope during out travels it works out we can stop by.  And tour the Fort, too -- we're both history buffs.
Ex_Member #74

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/01/2008 02:58:48Copy HTML

Since the weather has not been up to my standards for the beach, I have not been out lately but yesterday I was near Tierra Verde so I drove out to the Fort to see the posted signs for beach closure. The first thing I found was the parking spot on the grass area towards the north end of west beach has posted NO PARKING SIGNS then they have BEACH ARE CLOSED SIGNS that say CONSERVATION / PRESERVATION KEEP OUT!   I gotta tell ya that the whole area were most of us thongers and G'rs visited is closed and I mean you can not even walk along the shoreline, is use to be the dunes were closed off which I can understand for beach redevelopment but the entire area is now closed. I guess we will have to move farther south along the beach.SKI
Beachlover492000 #75

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/06/2008 03:45:36Copy HTML

SKI,    Did you go on the beach at Ft. DeSoto to see how close the blocked off area is to the parking lot where the gift shop is? Is the line anywhere near the spot they put up the bird nesting areas last year? I wrote an email to the guy who is resposible for this. He replyed that there is beach on the south end up from the ranger station were no one goes. I understand that the ships polute the water there, and that it's not pleasant.  He won't answer the question as to why he cut down all the shade trees, and he is totally in the tank the radical environmentalist movement. He set up a place for dogs to do their busienss on the beach, but all of the quiet spots away from people have been taken away. It's the first time I've ever seen a beach for dogs anywhere. Usually they are banned, but NOT at Ft. DeSoto. It looks like we have lost just about everything forever. It makes you sick when you pay thousands of dollars in taxes to the county and state every year and get treated like this from a guy who will never have to answer to the people. It must be nice to be dictator.
JM_Runs #76

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/06/2008 05:49:12Copy HTML

I don't think your foe is the "radical environmentalist movement".  I think it is a radical morilistic few who are trying to drive thongers out of the park.
Your best alies in the long term may be the environmentalists becuase they don't want dogs, do want responsable use, and want quiet places.
If you want to have a place to thong on a good beach then work with the other groups who have intrests in the park, find common ground. Don't work against them and don't demonize them.
Beachlover492000 #77

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/07/2008 03:43:36Copy HTML

Sorry Jim, but I wrote a letter to the director, Robert E. Browning, and got a response. Radical environmentalists are behind this. If you would like me to reproduce his reponse here, I shall. Contrary to your beliefs, not all liberals are our friends.

There is no compromise with these people. There is no give and take. They are  no different from the Christian fundamentalists. They decide; you live with it and pay taxes to fund their policies. End of subject.
NativeNude #78

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/08/2008 11:34:08Copy HTML

We have been dealing with that same type of problem over here at playalinda and numerous non official beaches until they are gone. These power hungry control freaks are determined to control everything we do, until we have no freedoms at all. They hide within many groups like liberals and environmentalists and the like but their true goal is controlling every facet of our lives so they can tax everyone to death which gives them unlimited amounts of money to spend as they see fit. These people will lie right to your face, saying they are sympathetic to your cause while they gather data to further their goal even if they have to fabricate that data. Just look at the numerous freedoms we have lost in the last 10 years let alone the last 30 years if you have any doubt.  “How can you tell if a politician is lying ?? Their lips are moving “
Ex_Member #79

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/08/2008 01:44:17Copy HTML

Maybe this new beach "closing" for environmental reasons is a concession to allow the dog beach to be there without protest.
bigbuzz #80

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/08/2008 02:41:19Copy HTML

Here is a copy of the letter I received from the ranger after I communicated with all of the County Commissioners. I have some pictures I took of the signs but cannot fihure out how to upload them here.  In actuality if we all just quit bitching and make that area ours we will be better off.  The park only cares about 200 feet from mean high tide. This means you can take a raft and walk out on the sandbar and float away with no worries of being seen from the walkers. We all just need to pack together on the beach instead of spreading out like we have done in the past. We control the water line and fill it so the walkers have to turn around sooner, then they have nothing to bitch about because they will not have seen anything.

Your e-mail regarding the closure of a section of Fort De Soto Park beach has been forwarded to me by County Commission Chairman Robert B. Stewart’s office for response on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners. Fort De Soto Park has six miles of beach frontage; three miles on Tampa Bay and three miles on the Gulf of Mexico.  On Wednesday February 6, 2008, Fort De Soto staff closed one-half mile of the Gulf beach for conservation, preservation and restoration purposes.  Fort De Soto Park attracts over 3 million human visitors annually.  However, in addition to the human visitors there are countless thousands of birds that frequent this park as well.  Several of these birds are federally protected.  Because of the construction along the beaches of Pinellas County, birds and wildlife have lost habitat.  This small stretch of closed beach at Fort De Soto Park will not entirely mitigate lost habitat, but it will help.  Park staff, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission staff, and volunteers with the Audubon Society have struggled for years over conflict between human activity and shorebirds at Fort De Soto Park.   With this one-half mile of beach closed, 2.5 miles of Gulf beach remain open for public usage, including all of North Beach, which was chosen as America’s Best Beach in 2005 by Dr. Stephen Leathermen, aka “Dr. Beach”.  The dunes, which are now posted, have supported nesting terns, Oyster catchers, and Black skimmers in the past.  The areas these birds frequent were previously blocked from public access for several months during nesting season.  The idea of permanent closures is to allow the birds to have an area for roosting even in the non-nesting season.  The closure area is not near the designated parking areas and is in a section of the park that is the least visited by the general public. The area which is closed to the public measures approximately 70 acres.  This includes the beach, dune, back beach, marsh, and mangrove areas.  All of the areas are important habitat for birds and wildlife.  Over 1,000 acres of Fort De Soto Park remain available to the public.  There have been many positive comments from beach walkers since the closure.  They feel that the birds need a place and they are willing to share the beach with the birds and wildlife.   I hope you will have a better understanding of the decision that went in to this action, and will see the benefit for al visitors and residents of Pinellas County.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail or at the phone number listed below. Sincerely,  Paul CozzieCulture, Education and Leisure Director(727) 464-3347

Beachlover492000 #81

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/08/2008 07:41:07Copy HTML

Here is the text of the email I received back from Robert Browning who is the point man for this project.

Thank you for your comments regarding Fort De Soto Park and its facilities. 

The recent closure of 1/2 mile of public beach was not a decision that was made overnight.  Much thought went into this decision.  Park staff, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission employees, Audubon, and others have struggled with the idea of the conflicts between human activity, shorebirds, and other wildlife on the beaches of Fort De Soto Park.  The shorebirds have not had an area in which they can roost or nest without a threat of disturbance from human activity.  The idea is to curtail the human activity to allow the birds an area with less chance of disturbance. 

This one half mile stretch of beach was chosen because it is the least populated section of beach, by humans, along the Gulf of Mexico.  In fact, when surveys were done, fewer than 30 people occupied this stretch of beach even on the busiest days.  This is an area that birds such as the American oystercatcher, Least tern, Red Knot, and Black skimmer have been known to roost and/or nest.  With fewer humans in the area, those numbers are bound to increase as we saw this past year just north of this new conservation area.  In fact, 145 Red Knots were counted on that point last Friday.  These birds are quickly losing numbers due to loss of habitat.

 In response to your point that we have a designated portion of the beach for dogs. That is correct.  Prior to this designation, even though we had rules prohibiting dogs on the beach, we still had people bringing their dogs onto the beach and disturbing people who did not have dogs and roosting birds.  Since we opened this Dog Beach in May 2002, we have had fewer problems with dogs being on beaches where they don't belong.  Having this Dog Beach allows staff to direct dog owners to bring their dogs to this area and keep them off the beaches for others to enjoy. 

In response to your points that there is no longer a quiet place on the beach away from the crowds, loud radios and screaming children and that you would be willing to walk a half mile or more along a shoreline to a place you could enjoy the day away from crowds, I have a suggestion.  There is a one mile stretch of beach between the Bay Pier and East Beach that is very rarely visited.  There are times, even on busy weekends, when fewer than 20 or 30 people walk this section of beach.  It is far enough away from facilities and public use areas that most people do not use it because of the lack of conveniences.  I would suggest you try out this area to see if it would fit your needs.  You can park your vehicle at East Beach, Park Headquarters, or the Bay Pier to access this section of beach.

 In reference to the point about the best beach in America.  We have not touched the area that was named the Number 1 Beach in 2005.  That is the North Beach area which is approximately 1/2 mile north of this closed zone.

 I would be happy to meet with you any time to further discuss any of these issues. 

Thank you very much for your time. 

Sincerely, Bob BrowningPark District SupervisorFort De Soto Park3500 Pinellas Bayway S.Tierra Verde, FL 33715727-552-1862Fax 727-552-1863 Respect Nature..Stress less through contact with nature..IT STARTS IN PARKS.
Ex_Member #82

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/10/2008 01:37:51Copy HTML

On another note about what is being taken away or I should say added is the rate increase proposed by the FDOT (Florida Dept. of Transportation) who is proposing a rate increase on the Pinellas Bayway from the current rate of .50 cents to $1.25.  They want this rate increase to take affect as early as this July not with standing the FDOT also wants the toll rate for Fort DeSoto Park to increase from .35 cents per car to $2.50 also starting in July 2008.  This means the cost to get from the mainland or from St. Pete Beach which now cost .50 + .35 = to .85 total. With the new increase it will cost us $3.75 to get to the Fort.  Some might think is not a big deal but for many who travel this path even just the Bayway bridge is going to ad a great burden to our wallets.  Please voice your feelings to FDOT or go this Wednesday evening to the St. Pete Beach Community Center were FDOT is holding an open forum. 

briankay #83

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/11/2008 05:14:39Copy HTML

Concerning the tolls, they haven't been raised in years.  Fort DeSoto costs more to operate than it brings in.  That means it is being subsidized by people or Pinellas who don't use it.  That's not really fair to them.

People forget that local/county/state government can't just print money when they need it.  They've gotten used to the what the federal government has done under two of the last three Republican Presidents: cut taxes, print money, and run budget deficits.  Only the feds can do that.  Others must balance their budgets.

I lived in Indiana a lot of years.  $5 daily entrance to a state park there makes DeSoto a bargain at the prices they're suggesting.  I suggest supporting the increase with the idea of fairness to the Pinellas residents who currently subsidize the operation but are not using the facility and because maybe, just maybe, more revenue will mean keeping the park as it is or maybe improving it.  After all, an alternative is the previous (rejected) plan to put a fancy restaurant at DeSoto and make money off its operator.

I hope the sensibility that resulted in "A Penny For Pinellas" passing last time is applied here. 
Beachlover492000 #84

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/11/2008 03:22:50Copy HTML

Back in Massachusetts the fee for getting on Cranes Beach, which was the only thong friendly beach within driving distance, was $20 a day. The best deal was to buy a season pass, which cost me $125.

The worst thing for me will be the price of gasoline since I have to drive 125 miles round trip for a day at Ft. DeSoto. I'll have to see if there is any beach left for me there to see if it's worth it. If it's not I'm really going to miss the great people I've met there over the years. And given the circumstances those folks might to be going there any way.

Edited to say: I can see where a toll is appropriate for getting on Ft DeSoto, but I can't see why a toll is charged to get on Terra Verde or whatever it's called. It looks like a normal state highway to me, and the people in that area are being gouged IMO. The property taxes out there are outragious. For that the road should be free access like other similar state roads.
bigbuzz #85

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/12/2008 02:33:16Copy HTML

Let me say something about the proposed tolls.  They have not been raised in many years. What else has stayed the same price for the last 20 years? They should have been going up with inflation the whole time. FDOT has not been able to save money for replacements because just maintaining them has gotten expensive. The toll outside of Fort Desoto is not a charge for the park. It is a charge for the bridge you go over to the park. Pinellas County does not charge entry for any park. Tierre Verde is a Planned Developement area just as other Planned Developemnts in Pinellas County.That is why Legislation was written years ago not allowing tolls to be raised. That is why this must be done with Legislative support in Tally.  Just think for a minute with gas going up like it is how much do you think building a bridge will cost and where is the money going to come from?  Those that live there and use it most should burden the most when it comes to absorbing the cost. Guess if you live in a condo somewhere they should have never been able to raise dues? Wonder how it would look after 20 years?

On a lighter note anybody been out lately?
Ex_Member #86

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/12/2008 04:44:39Copy HTML

Since gas is nearing $3.75 per gallon and I saw diesel at $3.90 a gallon this morning, the state is bringing in about .75 cents for each gallon of gas so when I put $50 in gas in my car today about $13 of it was gas tax.  I am sorry but the state can do without charging me $3.75 or what ever it comes out to be for me to enjoy Fort DeSoto Park.  If they just kept the park in it's natural beauty, it would not cost as much to run.  So if the tolls go up the state may get what $4000 to $8000 extra day in tolls.  Hell they get that at the gas pumps every 30 seconds in gas tax just in Pinellas County alone.  I propose that if you are a tourist then you pay a user fee and if you are a local you pay a smaller fee just like Disney World were if you are Florida resident you can get a discount on passes to there theme parks.
floridabound #87

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/12/2008 05:36:58Copy HTML

I thought the pennys for pinellas was for recreation. I am a tourist and that money is given to that.
Beachlover492000 #88

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/12/2008 10:17:24Copy HTML

The really bad part about the toll situation is that the Florida legislature wants give up the toll setting function and give it to the Florida DOT. As former Massachusetts resident I can tell you how that will work. The DOT will raise tolls through the roof and pay themselves huge salaries. They were also provide jobs to hack politicians who are out of work and the drones that the politicians want to have a state job. We have already have an example of this in Tampa with the Sellman Expressway. The elevated part of the road sank into the ground and cost millions to fix. Instead of going after the contractor, the Expressway Authority more than doubled the tolls and raised their own salaries.

In Mass. the guy who drove the car for the director of the Mass. Turnpike authority was paid $80,000 a year, and this was 10 years ago. Mass had the highest toll rate per mile in the nation. The deal was that the Mass. Turnpike was to be made into a toll-free road when the bonds were paid off. But of course they were never paid off because the there endless road projects to keep the hack politicians in the chips.

I've seen this garbage up North and the politicians down here have without a doubt seen how it works are ready to use the same system.
bigbuzz #89

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/13/2008 02:36:01Copy HTML

Okay!  The State does not get .75 cents per gallon of gas.  Federal taxes are higher on a gallon than State taxes. Then Florida only gets back .97 cents per dollar of Federal money taken in from gas tax.  Maybe FDOT should just let Pinellas County deal with the bridges. Then nobody could bitch about the State. State employees have done without a pay raise for 3 years now. They have gotten 2 rather small bonuses 2 of the last 3 years. One was for only $1,000. BIG BUCKS there let me tell you. Neither one of these bridges are the States problem they have agreed to help Pinellas County for evacuation of people and movement of boats.  Once fixed bridges are installed maintenance cost will drop greatly.  Before you go making assumptions about contractors and their mishaps you need to get the facts correct. The contractor did eat the cost to repair the elevated roadway.  It's all rumors and BS that gets started. Until you read the facts do not make assumptions. I will compare facts with any of you regarding these issues. 
bigbuzz #90

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/15/2008 02:40:24Copy HTML

On a better note. Thursday was beautiful out at the Fort. We actually did not realize how much sun we were  getting.  Burned our bottoms bad. First time out this season. Actually think we are going to like this new boundary in the sand. Only have to watch for people in one direction. If all the thongers and topfree sunbathers will stay together in the first 100 to 200 yards from this line we can keep most people away. They will just end their walk a few 100 feet short of the end of the beach.  Will be interesting to see how many of the women that have been out there will come out and stay in this new area.
Beachlover492000 #91

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:03/18/2008 10:05:15Copy HTML

I went to Ft. DeSoto yesterday for the first time since the bird beach opened. There is good news and bad news.

The marker as not as far up north on the beach as I had feared. It's at the spot where the beach turns right so there is a fair amount of beach left from the giftshop parking lot north. The bad news is that you can no longer walk past the turn where once you could lay out with more privacy from the giftshop beach. A lot of my old thong friends were there, and we had a nice afternoon.

So far as the bird area goes, a great many people who are used to walking the beach now cannot do that. The people who are unhappy with this goes well beyond the thong community. The first person I saw on the beach was with his wife and daugher. He asked me when it began and how long it would there. "Since early February and forever" were my answers. He was really angry. I told to send an email, and he said he would.

Many people were going past the signs anyway and walking. The rangers made five round trips during the day to tell them get off the beach. This whole thing is such a joke because every time the rangers drive their SUVs down the beach they disturb the birds they are supposed to be protecting FAR MORE than people who just walk. And knowing how things get in the summer, the rangers are going to be up and down there a lot.

One of the local residents, Beachfolks, is starting to contact the local elected officials. I told him I'd help with letters and what ever else I can do. I don't live in the county so my input will be limited by that.

This is very silly policy, and objections to it are going to go beyond us. Perhaps if a enough heat is put on Robert Browning, who is either the originator or the mouthpiece for this policy, changes will be made.
bigbuzz #92

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:04/06/2008 02:01:16Copy HTML

How many people are still hitting the beach in thongs with it closer to the regualr beach goers now?  Are thongers moving to east beach? Who has been lately?
Beachlover492000 #93

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:04/06/2008 06:48:14Copy HTML

If "east beach" is the area that runs from the back of the ranger station, which is at the foot of the main entrance, to the fishing pier, I think the answer is no. I looked at that area after Mr. Browning responded to my email in which I complained about the new policy. That is beach is dirty and not maintained. I also understand that there is a lot of grass in seaweed growing below the water there. Given the kinds of critters one can find in clear tropical water, I don't want to run into something hiding in the weeds.

My most recent day at the beach was on Wednesday, April 2. The rangers were still running up and down the beach in their SUVs going after walkers and distrubing the birds this policy is claimed to help.
Beachlover492000 #94

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:04/10/2008 12:51:05Copy HTML

GOOD NEWS! You can now walk the entire beach at Ft. De Soto all the way down the point. The offensive and foolish signs that once marked the "bird area" have been removed. I think the park officials concluded that the ban they were trying to enforce in that was unenforceable.

There are now signs well in front of dunes that say "beach closed." There are between them and the gulf at high tide are such that you can't really put down your blanket in the area. But at least now everyone can wake the beach in peoeple without the "checka" running up and down the beach telling people to leave.
beachfolks #95

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:04/20/2008 02:28:12Copy HTML

Glad to hear that.
Apparently our comments to Pinellas county officials and others comments had an effect. Unfortunately I have now been "banned" from the DeSoto beach by a ranger (he says) for wearing a see-through swimsuit and brought in a deputy to make it official. (my suit was see-through in the sun, but it was not even a fishnet or see-through material suit, just a tight baggie and heavily worn from being used)  Other people there in microsuits, some wear just a tarzan style drape of see-thru mesh material. So beware-- the rangers don't try to be fair at all.

My feeling is that I was targeted for griping and making too much fuss to the ranger the day before when he kicked us and others out of the water where we were shelling in front of the bird area.

Madiera (Mad) beach is nice this time of year, has nice sand and a reasonable population of female thongers now, some male thongers too.

bigbuzz #96

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:04/20/2008 04:37:29Copy HTML

Beachfolks-  Trying to place you out there. Are you the retired gentleman that lives onTierre Verde?  Thought you had the rangers and the rules figured out. What made them bring in a deputy?
beachfolks #97

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:04/21/2008 02:27:03Copy HTML

 The Pinellas deputy didn't have much input except to make it official-The deputy has defended me in the baggie suits to the Rangers before, but the rangers observation was correct much to my surprise-In the bright sunlight, my suit was very see-thru- and he demanded I be banned from DeSoto-Usually they just give a warning. What could the deputy say. 

I think the ranger targeted me because I  had griped and fussed at a ranger the previous day when his guy kicked several of us off the shelling area on the gulf side of the prohibited bird space. that guy(The disagreeable heavy set one) was way off base, obnoxious, and acted like a drill sargeant shooing us out-followed us in his  SUV. We couldn't move fast enough to suit him. They don't like anyone who doesn't jump when they yell at you. Think they are in training for a SWAT team. I was wearing the same suit that day (1 day previous) and the ranger didn't mention anything about my swimsuit.
lindros #98

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:04/21/2008 03:11:03Copy HTML

Sorry, but a Ranger and/or Deputy can't permanently ban you from the beach, they don't have the authority. They can get you to cover up, they can ticket/arrest you, but only a court order from a judge can prevent you from returning the next day.
bigbuzz #99

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:04/21/2008 10:49:06Copy HTML

Beachfolks- Have to ask.  Who called the deputy and why did it get that far? Would the ranger have been okay if you would have just put something else on for a little while?

I personally think right now the rangers are tired of the new preservation area. They are stuck in the middle and it is a no win situation for them. They get chewed out if they let people go down in the area and they get bitched at by everybody else for enforcing a rule their boss imposed. We are hoping to get back out soon. But we have never had a problem with the rangers. They told my wife one time her suit had to have a string around the side so we said okay, he drove off, she put one on with a side strap( tie side) so that he could see the straps next time by and we had no problem. I just think right now we have to understand the position the rangers have been put in and it is not a nice one.

Thanks for getting back and would love to hear the answers to the questions.
sailor250 #100

Re:Fort De Soto Beach

Date Posted:04/21/2008 11:36:17Copy HTML

Big Buzz-
what type of suit was your wife wearing that didn't have a side strap- was it a slingshot type suit or a "pastease" stick on suit?

From what I've seen the rangers want to make their work easier and probably don't want to have to come back if there is a "nude" complaint.

did you feel targeted because you were wearing a strapless suit?  I've seen police and rangers get frustrated when they feel you are taunting their authority with something that's not quite illegal but bothersome- be it a muffler that's too loud or a suit that's almost illegal, almost see thru.
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