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DEP Designates Torreya State Park as State Geological Site

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 21, 2022

~Designated State Geological Sites showcase Florida's geological history and resources~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) celebrated the designation of Torreya State Park in Bristol as the newest State Geological Site. Designated State Geological Sites are areas the Florida Geological Survey has determined to be significant to scientific study and the public's understanding of Florida's geological history.

Torreya State Park was chosen for this designation in part because of the park's Rock Bluff, a steep, tall, limestone bluff that has been exposed by erosion from the Apalachicola River. Rock Bluff is part of the Torreya Formation and is about 18 million years old. Marine fossils, including those of the dugong, a large marine mammal related to the manatee, are found in the limestone formations exposed along the Apalachicola River and in the streambeds within the park.

"Many of Florida's state parks contain important geological features, including Rock Bluff at Torreya State Park,” said Florida State Geologist and Florida Geological Survey Director Guy “Harley” Means. “The exposed rocks preserve valuable information about Florida's geological history. Places where rocks are exposed are also tied to human culture since they were areas where natural resources could be found. People have been drawn to places like Rock Bluff for thousands of years. Designation of State Geological Sites recognizes a select few of these as important resources and outstanding examples of their kind in the state."

Designated Geological Sites provide opportunities to experience and learn about a site's geological features, its connection to the local ecosystem and its significance in past and present culture. Following the ceremony, attendees joined Harley Means for a tour of geological features within the park. Future guests can learn more about Torreya State Park’s unique geological features by speaking with a park ranger or exploring the park’s 16 miles of hiking trails.

"Torreya State Park preserves some spectacular examples of limestone formations. We're grateful that the Florida Geological Survey is recognizing and sharing the landscapes that make Florida unique," said Florida State Parks Acting Director Chuck Hatcher. "The park provides a rare opportunity to see firsthand how geology forms the areas where we swim, hike and relax in nature."

Legislation authorizes the state geologist to designate sites that are of great and continuing significance for the scientific study and understanding of the geological history of Florida. Several areas have been identified, and the state geologist will identify more sites in the coming years. Falling Waters State Park was designated a State Geological Site in 2019, joining Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State ParkDevil's Millhopper Geological State Park, Florida Caverns State Park and Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park.