Flagler Beach police are ticketing drivers for illegal parking in an initiative to protect the beach's dunes.

  • Flager Beach police ticketing illegal parking on dunes
  • Police chief said ultimate goal is to get beach-goers to comply
  • Learn more about Dodge the Dunes campaign here

Visiting Flagler Beach from Knoxville Tennessee, Jessica Miller did some shopping today but made sure she parked in the right place.

“You can't just park anywhere, because the dunes are there (to) protect,” Miller said.

Just Monday, Flagler Beach police posted a photo of a car parked illegally on the sea dunes.

“The misnomer is the majority of the people that are illegally parking are tourists, and that's not true; a lot of them are from our general area,” said Flagler Beach Police Chief Matt Doughney.

Chief Doughney said police regularly see cars parked illegally. They’ve written several citations and given many warnings. Though Doughney said their ultimate goal is for people to comply.

In 2017, officers wrote 158 citations and gave out 13 warnings.

There's only been one ticket and one warning so far this year, but officers said that could be due to low attendance from cooler weather at the beach.

“There's no need for us to increase the damage that mother nature has done to the dunes we've been through two hurricanes, nor'easter, bomb cyclone we've been through all those thing,” Doughney said.

They're using cards to educate drivers on what proper parking looks like and what's allowed.

The ‘no parking’ signs indicate what's off limits, but the chief said there are plenty of "legal" parking spots to go around.

“Just parking on the dunes for 15 to 20 minutes is the impact that you don't see underneath -- the level of grass that erodes that life, the roots that are sitting in there.

“You want to visit a place that really shows creation the way it should be and by damaging the dunes then you're damaging the ecosystem,” Jessica Miller said.

To learn more about the Dodge the Dunes campaign, visit www.dodgethedunes.com.