Fresh air, trees, clouds and blue sky – helping you stay healthy. [ St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve ]
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Get outdoors on Depot Run and keep moving and exploring

This article is the fifth in a series exploring the many trails within the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve.

Continuing our trails exploration through the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve takes us to Depot Run, if you are looking at our trail map (available at each gate). 

It is 1.2 miles from Treasure Road to Grassy Road, which encompasses Depot Run. Staff at the Preserve inherited the names of the roads and ponds with the purchase of the property. Some names are obvious due to trees, plants, geography, or past historical uses. Depot Run is near the swampy areas next to Depot Creek.

Since we don’t know exactly why the road was named Depot Run, let’s think about it in terms of why it is so important — to get outside!

There is a concept used in Japan named “forest bathing” which is an essential part of their national health program. This concept was developed in 1982 and is still relevant today. The Japanese Shinrin-Yoku Forest Therapy is regarded highly and has as its goal to reintroduce people to the healing power of nature. After much research and many studies, the conclusion is clear — nature benefits wellbeing in many ways. suggests specific reasons why being outside is so important. First, we are glued to our TVs and electronic devices so much of our waking hours which alone can add stress. In today’s world it’s very stressful just dealing with the issues of the day. Guess what? Getting outside helps relieve stress. Well, that’s simple enough to say however, actually going out in nature might be a little more complicated, especially in our Florida heat. 

This is where the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve comes into focus. There are trails, and more trails to choose from on the Preserve. When stress goes unchecked it can create physical problems such as depression, high blood pressure, or obesity.

Want to strengthen your Immunity? Don’t we all? Fact: Staying indoors can have a negative effect on your health. The boost you get from a trip into nature will help you in your efforts to being healthier.

Another reason to get outside: Sharpen your focus and enhance your creativity by being outside enjoying nature. Workers who have a window viewing the outside or who take a break to the outdoors report an increase in productivity and in the ability to concentrate. Research tells us after spending time exploring the outdoors there is an increase in creative problem solving and cognitive function — of nearly 50 percent. 

Need to calm your mind? If you feel like depression and anxiety is becoming crippling to your wellbeing – get outdoors. Being outdoors creates positive physical responses in our body. Reducing blood pressure, lowering heart rate and decreasing cortisol levels sound like a good plan? Just getting outside helps our body slowdown, which helps us feel peaceful and calm.

Admin Assistant Sandra Cole loves to find something that needs her attention in the uplands. While in the office she has a great view of St. Joseph Bay, however, the rare plants, trees and invasives are always in her mind and she feels the need to check on them quite regularly. “I truly love working at the Preserve”, says Sandra. She came to work at the Buffer Preserve by way of volunteering and has thoroughly enjoyed our natural beauty and resources. “I love the TRAM Tours and I so enjoy sharing the Preserve with our visitors.” 

Need an effective aid for weight management? Nature offers wonderful fresh air and beautiful sites to see. In just one-half hour you can expend 150 calories walking. Why not walk on trails where nature is on display and your body can benefit profusely? Walks in nature at the Buffer Preserve are free, yet so beneficial. Get outdoors and enjoy those health benefits nature has to offer.

What might one see if hiking on Depot Run? Trees, shrubs, sandy roads, tracks of various animals, clouds through the trees and a training track marked by white posts for ATV/UTN/EV training. 

The next articles will have more reasons why being outside is important! Don’t sit inside and think about or read about nature — come out and enjoy it firsthand! Earlier rather than midday is advantageous, as is later in the afternoon.

Trails are open from sunup to sundown. You might run into Tony or Ben if you are walking early. There is no charge for using the trails, we just ask that you leave no trace and if walking your dog, keep it on a leash. 

Your questions will be answered if you call 850-229-1787. You might have to leave a message however; someone will return your call. 

We suggest you bring water, your phone, and wear sturdy, close-toed shoes. Depending on the time of day, sunscreen is needed, and a hat or cap is very helpful. If there has been a lot of rain the low-water crossings will have water in them. There is gravel below the water so you can walk on through, but you will get your feet wet. It’s worth it when you observe nature. 

Sandra Chafin Cole is an administrative assistant at the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserves.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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