Preserving our past for a sustainable future

Posted in: Bridges, Transportation

Mother and daughter walking on path in park as sun setsDid you know July is National Park & Recreation month? Whether you prefer kayaking through pristine rivers, hiking through beautiful mountains, or board walking through culturally-historic areas, chances are you’ve enjoyed experiencing nature in your community.

This month, we at Mead & Hunt are taking some time to reflect on the ways our local and national communities benefit from our national parks and other natural resources. As engineers and architects, we feel a responsibility to protect and preserve these natural resources as we complete our work.

In fact, we have an entire team dedicated to protecting and preserving national parks and the wildlife that call them home. We’ve worked on projects nationwide that have strived to protect various local environments. Whether it’s using sustainable infrastructure practices to create greener communities or exploring less harmful options for everything from intersections to road salt, this is not a responsibility we take lightly.

boardwalk cascading through forest in park
Existing boardwalk at Silver Springs State Park

For our latest Florida project, we will work for FDOT and FDEP to add a quarter mile of new boardwalk and a new pedestrian bridge at Silver Springs State Park. In an effort to preserve these sensitive lands, our field teams will work together to monitor native American artifacts and document any threatened and endangered species during the initial investigation. The use of innovative soil sampling equipment means that only foot traffic will need access to the testing site, mitigating adverse effects. In addition, our structural engineers will design the new boardwalks to be constructed from the top down to keep all construction equipment out of the wetlands, cypress swamps and archaeological sites.

As one of Florida’s first tourist attractions, Silver Springs State Park has been a resource for the local community since the 1870s! This work will help Floridians continue to experience the natural beauty and cultural history of the native cypress swamp where the bridge is located.

We know that minimal disruption is crucial and that our national parks are precious resources that we must work to protect. This preservation goes beyond the here and now—it’s about preserving a portion of our past so that future generations may enjoy these beautiful resources as we have.

Michael Schwier, PE

About the Author

When he’s not camping in a vintage 1964 Shasta travel trailer, Michael Schwier, PE leads Mead & Hunt’s Tallahassee office. He has worked with the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for 25 years on a variety of projects. He works with his team to develop unique and innovative solutions that aid in the environmental preservation of his projects.

Read more posts by Michael Schwier, PE

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