Charred Palm Trees, Honeymoon Island State Park


Dunnellon, United States

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This area of charred palm trees on Honeymoon Island (Honeymoon Island State Park) in Florida, USA, may be from a lightning strike, but more likely from a controlled burn to manage the density of the plant growth. New green fronds are popping up in the treetops as well new green shoots on the ground. See information below.

Located in Dunedin, Florida, Honeymoon Island is home to Honeymoon Island State Park. It attracts more than 700,000 visitors each year…. Honeymoon Island has slightly more than 3.5 miles of white sandy beaches facing the Gulf of Mexico. This undeveloped barrier island also has a pine forest with nature trails and plenty of mangrove-lined shore on the bay side of the island with extensive shallow grass flats that are off-limits to motor boats. Honeymoon Island is separated from Caladesi Island by Hurricane Pass, which was created by the great hurricane of 1921, the last truly devastating hurricane to hit this area of the state.

Visitors to barrier island preserves like Caladesi Island, Honeymoon Island, and Cayo Costa State Park will often encounter burned areas. Sometimes fires are started by summer lightning strikes, but often they are the result of controlled burns. Without undergoing periodic fires, natural Florida woodlands tend to build up a lot of dead leaves and branches. Areas that go too long without being subjected to fire have so much dead plant matter built up that when fire does come, it burns so hot that it damages mature trees that would have easily withstood a lesser fire. So rangers conduct controlled burns to make sure that too much “tinder” doesn’t build up.

From the Florida Park Service Mission Statement
Honeymoon Island State Park is approximately 3 miles west of Dunedin. The entrance is located 9 miles west of US 19 on State Road 586. In the 1500’s Spanish explorers visited the island and met the island’s first inhabitants. These Native Americans were a local Safety Harbor tribe called Tocobagos. Artifacts such as skeletal remains, Sixteenth Century pottery and chain have been found on the island. These finds indicate the area was not only used by the Native American tribes but also by early Europeans as a “stop-over” point. Through the years some attempts were made to homestead the island but all faltered. In October 1921 a hurricane hit the island and split it into north and south Hog Islands with Hurricane Pass cutting between them. The island was sold many times. Then in 1939 a businessman from New York by the name of Clinton Washburn purchased the island. He, together with Life Magazine, Newsreel, and the Clearwater Lions Club, began a contest for newlywed couples where the winners would spend their Honeymoon on the island. One hundred sixty-seven couples won a stay and came down to Honeymoon Isle. They stayed in one of the fifty thatched huts built on what was then the main beach area. World War II ended the honeymoons and the island was then used for a rest and recuperative retreat for factory workers. The island was sold again and a developer by the name of Hyman Green bought the island, in the late 1960s, and began dredging the waters surrounding the island. He wanted to develop the island into a condominium resort. The state began purchasing the island in 50-acre parcels December 23, 1974. The acquisition was complete when the City of Dunedin donated the final 22.2 acres of beach to the state on January 14,1982. Honeymoon Island State Park was opened in October of 1982.

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