As a boardwalk leads over the sand dunes at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach, Florida, a sign warns visitors to “Keep Off the Dunes” to protect the sea oats that are growing there.
So what is the big deal about sea oats, anyway? Do they need to keep the sea oats there so that the seahorses will have something to eat when they come ashore? Okay, so seahorses don’t actually come ashore, and if they did, their mouths are way too small to eat the sea oats. So it must be something else.
Actually, the sea oats help to protect the sea shore. By growing in the dunes, the sea oats keep the dunes from eroding by giving the sand something to anchor to. Or something like that. Without the sea oats there, the beaches would all eventually just be washed away by the waves.
And because I like going to the beach and wouldn’t want the beach to disappear, I will gladly leave the sea oats alone. And also because picking the sea oats carries a hefty fine. After all, we have already paid a good bit to be on vacation there, so why would we want to pay any more?
So yes, those sand dunes are nice just the way they are. And I will keep off of them.