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Salt Works Alive Project begun at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

By Florida's Original NatureCoaster™ Posted on August 23, 2018

Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, is recreating history with ‘Salt Works Alive’, a project featuring live interpretive demonstrations and interactive displays. The goal is to make the park a place to see, touch, and feel Pasco County Florida’s unique and interesting history.

Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park is thrilling visitors by expanding historical displays that feature stories of the Nature Coast’s early settlers while visitors navigate through beautiful, undisturbed trails and nature.

Once you step inside the park, you immediately begin to feel the vibes of original, authentic Florida, of our local community, and the rural communities of the Gulf Coast. The team at WBSSSP is taking that feeling to an entirely new level. Somewhat reminiscent of the parks of Gettysburg and Williamsburg, the team is now working to bring history alive for park visitors.

The launching of recent projects led by Park Manager Adam Belden, and Salt Springs Alliance, Inc, the park’s Citizen’s Support Organization, are geared to recreating history outdoors within the park trails. The CSO’s executive team of Tammy Carr, Jaana Jala, Kayla Kuni, and Becky Kesel are currently working to bring the Civil War era ‘Salt Works Alive’ by creating an interactive display featuring information on importance of salt to our early settlers, and demonstrations by park rangers on how salt was made from the Warner-Boyce salt springs!  ‘Salt Works Alive’ is scheduled to be completed by summer’s end and will be a main feature on the park’s Salt Springs Trail.

The ‘Salt Works Alive’ Project

The ‘Salt Works Alive’ project’s goal is to enable every visitor walking the trails to see, feel, touch, hear, and envision the rich history held within Port Richey, New Port Richey, and western Pasco County, while surrounded by nature. Several educational displays, history tours, and events are being prepared. The team is working to recreate history with interpretive displays from the pioneer days, through the Civil War, and the depression. Also included is the area’s commercial mullet fishing history.

A display highlighting the commercial fishing industry, which was so vibrant in this area during the mid-to-latter part of the 20th century, includes a restored mullet boat in the main area of the park. What makes the Mullet Boat Project and subsequent projects so amazing, is that the team decided telling the story is not enough. As visitors experience the restored Mullet boat, they can read about the history of this type of fishing, use links to view videos and listen to stories of the past. Salt Springs Alliance and Park Manager Adam Belden, said, “I want the history to come alive to the visitor by allowing them to interact with artifacts and history.”

The park team has also partnered with Mayor and Princess, LLC, to bring history alive with fun filled historically themed Skunk Ape Ghost Hunt walking tours with a twist – in the park – in the dark, starting up in October on select Saturdays.

What do Salt Springs Alliance, its park manager and rangers have in store for the future?

The team continues to reflect, research, seek artifacts, resources, and most importantly ask about specific historically significant periods of time in the development of Port Richey and Pasco County as a community; What did it look and feel like to be a part of Pasco County’s early days?  How did it feel to be a settler of Port Richey in 1864 trying to preserve food, help the cause of the Confederate Soldiers, or avoid Union raids during the Civil War? What was important to early settlers and why did they settle here? How did the early industries of lumber, stone quarries, cattle, turpentine, moon shining, rum running, fishing, and salt production affect settlers here in Port Richey? These questions are not only answered, but soon, you can see for yourself with interactive models, live demonstrations, historical media displays, ghost/historical walking tours, historical themed events linking visitors to the past all within the natural outdoor surroundings of the park!

You can help the park, and Salt Springs Alliance, in this great undertaking by becoming a member of the Salt Springs Alliance and/or donating directly to the Salt Springs Alliance for these projects. Visit SaltSpringsAlliance.org.

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