Walton County will hold a public hearing Aug. 21 at Dune Lakes Elementary School to discuss a proposed connector road to be established between U.S. Highway 98 and County Road 30A.

SANTA ROSA BEACH — Local high school students are gearing up to give Walton County commissioners a piece of their minds.


In light of a proposed connector road between U.S. Highway 98 and County Road 30A, the board will host a public hearing Aug. 21 at Dune Lakes Elementary School.

While the road would offer another gateway from U.S. 98 to the coast, it might also cut through Point Washington State Forest and Deer Lake State Park — the main issue igniting three Seacoast Collegiate High School seniors.

"We're going to go, (and) we're going to talk about this. This is not OK," 17-year-old Maxwell Post said of the upcoming meeting. "It's time for the public to say no to roads through our state parks and forests."

Post, who believes the street would be built near Dune Lakes Elementary School, added that he expected students from Niceville, South Walton and Fort Walton Beach high schools to also show up.

"This is a very important meeting," he said. "(The road is) not going to alleviate traffic, it's just going to make it exponential."

Others worried about the impact another highly traveled road might have on native species in South Walton's protected areas.

"It would be ruining different ecosystems," added 17-year-old Noelle Abliero, who said the road would spread trash and other pollutants into the state preserves.

By reducing protected areas, Abliero also believed the road would tarnish South Walton's reputation of being environmentally minded.

For others like Merileigh Camaret,  the meeting is an opportunity to get involved in her community.

"This is the first time I've really wanted to attend one of these (meetings)," Camaret said. "It's very important."

The three students are prepared to address commissioners during next Wednesday's hearing if given the opportunity.

"There's already so many different roads down there that go in the same direction," Abliero said. "Adding a new one would be doing more damage than it would be doing good."