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Beach walkers get the message out about Cedar Key’s clean beaches

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By Ada Lang

Saturday morning, approximately 15 walkers met and set out to prove to the world that Cedar Key’s beaches are oil free. That was an easy task, considering that the beaches are as pristine as ever.

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Mayor Pat O’Neal said the BeachWalk event, spearheaded by Visit Florida, went smoothly and everyone involved the brisk, clear weather — custom made for an early morning walk.

O’Neal greeted the early birds from Seahorse Landing Condominiums at City Park. Condo Manager Janet Blackwell and two staff members, Gail Flores and Michelle Williams, donned bright yellow Beach Walk T-shirts and set out. Although Cedar Key does not have miles of contiguous beaches as do other parts of Florida, the determined walkers made sure they covered every inch that they could find.

Climbing over rocks, trudging thru marshes or even walking along Dock Street (which technically traverses over a beach area) it was a good natured effort to show the rest of the country that Cedar Key's beaches are ready for visitors. The task was made easier and muddier because the tide was very low on Saturday morning.

About a dozen more people participated in Cedar Key over the next couple of hours, including Carol McQueen, director of the Levy County Visitor’s Bureau.

Up in Tallahassee, Visit Florida is still tallying the numbers, but as of Wednesday over 3,700 people participated in the walk and over 5,300 photos of Florida’s beaches were uploaded to the website.

Since the BP oil spill in April, many potential visitors have been under the impression that Florida's beaches are coated in oil.

Cedar Key’s beaches were never affected by the spill and the waters are monitored daily as the area is one of the coun- try’s largest producers of farm-raised clams. There has been no trace of contamination from the oil spill detected in the area and the seafood is safe to eat, according to government officials.