An eleven-person wheelchair accessible electric tram went into service this week at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park thanks to a $30,000 grant from the St. Joe Community Foundation to the Florida State Parks Foundation.

“This accessible electric tram, made possible by the St. Joe Community Foundation’s very generous grant, is a great boost to visitors who use wheelchairs enabling them to see more of Topsail’s incredible natural areas,” said Gil Ziffer, Florida State Parks Foundation President.

“Both the Foundation and the Florida Park Service are working to make our award-winning state parks ever more accessible, and this new tram is part of our commitment to this end. Electric trams also provide lower emission and less noise, leading to a more enjoyable experience for the park visitor,” he added.

“This project, which will provide greater access to the park for all visitors, aligns with the values of the St. Joe Community Foundation”, said April Wilkes, St. Joe Community Foundation Executive Director, “We are pleased to assist the Florida State Parks Foundation with another regional state park enhancement to better the visitor experience at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.”  

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is a 1,640-acre Florida State Park located in Santa Rosa Beach, ten miles east of Destin. The park is named for its dunes, which rise like ship’s sails over soft sand beaches and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Topsail Hill offers three miles of pristine beaches and attracts over 200,000 visitors annually. 

The Florida State Parks Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.  

It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy.

The volunteer Board of Directors represents private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests.

About the Author: Foundation Staff