The pavilion is a prime location for gatherings, and the swimming areas are perfect for cooling off on summer days. Wildlife is plentiful, and people of all ages can be seen canoeing, kayaking and tubing down the creek. There is something for everyone at Turkey Creek, but how did this all come to be?
For decades, Turkey Creek naturally supported recreation such as swimming, fishing and hunting. The spring-fed creek begins north of Niceville on the Eglin Reservation and flows through nearly two miles of the City limits to the mouth of Boggy Bayou. Following a donation of 17 acres of land by former County Commissioner Willie Williams in the 1980s, the City purchased property at the south end of Turkey Creek in 1993.
Over the next two years, the City used city revenue and state grant funds to establish Turkey Creek Park. The area now referred to as Turkey Creek South features a pavilion, restrooms, parking and access to a boardwalk. Over several years, the City extended the elevated boardwalk more than 6,100 feet north toward College Boulevard.
A 1994 grant allowed the City to acquire a 7-acre tract on Turkey Creek at College Boulevard, known as Turkey Creek North. This area includes picnic areas, boardwalk access to the creek and a canoe/kayak launch. In 2016, construction was completed on a 350-foot boardwalk connection to link the north and south parks.
In recent years the City acquired over 70 acres of land on the north side of College Boulevard through state and local funds. This area is intended to remain in its natural state and allow for primitive camping and picnicking.
Branching off of the main boardwalk is a special feature of Turkey Creek, the Path of Memories. The City of Niceville, working with a nonprofit organization, The Compassionate Friends, created this special place for parents who have suffered the loss of a child. This tranquil space for reflection and remembrance includes a sitting area and a pergola adorned with memorial plaques engraved with names of those sons and daughters gone too soon.
A recent addition to Turkey Creek pays homage to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). This emergency relief agency, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the early years of the Great Depression, provided jobs for more than three million men at camps across the country.