Art Yerian, Park Manager
Watching the sunrise on the beach during sea turtle nesting season or any other day for that matter always has me catching my breath; it’s so stunning starting my day off in the best possible way. Going down the beach looking for new nest activity fills me with anticipation not knowing what the next turn will reveal. In addition, I have the pleasure of talking to our visitors who walk the beach every morning and I share my morning information with them too. I love the smell of the ocean and the salt air. There are days that I have to pinch myself to make sure this is not a dream, I am so blessed to be a part of this.
After the beach walk there is nothing better than going to Lighthouse Café for breakfast. If you have not tried their fresh squeezed juice you are truly missing out. My wife loves the watermelon and I love pineapple. I enjoy the view of both the beach and the lighthouse at this location.
Next stop is the lighthouse keepers cottage. Going there gives me the opportunity to talk to more park visitors. There is so much history here, I love sharing the stories and events that have taken place over the years. Surprisingly, not everyone knows that the lighthouse is the oldest historic structure in Miami-Dade and I am very proud to be the one that has been entrusted to take care of it.
As I continue traveling the park I stop by the fishing piers and see what everyone is catching and listen to fish stories they like to share (like the one that got away). I have seen visitors catch so many different species of fish that sometimes even I am not sure what type of fish it is. Continuing on to the harbor gives me a chance to talk to our boat campers. I am always looking for ways we can improve any of our services that we offer.
When I have guests in town, we enjoy the Boaters Grill with an awesome menu and view that is sure to please everyone. My wife and I love to stop in during the evenings, order some appetizers, then watch the sunset. The sunsets at the park are some of the most spectacular sunsets you will see. So, if you wonder why there is a line to get inside the park between 4:30 and 5 p.m., it’s because the word is out! I suggest you go to area D in the park for the best sunsets you will ever see. I watch it almost every night and I am sure that my friends would agree they have seen more than enough sunset pictures posted by me. This special place rejuvenates me, and it’s all thanks to one person’s vision. I will always be grateful to Mr. Baggs.
Speaking of Bill Baggs, we are marking 50 years of the park named in his honor. In 1969, the state park was named after him and was protected from development.