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Protect our Florida State Parks

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Audubon of Florida News Department of Environmental Protection Proposes to Close 53 State Parks

posted on January 27, 2011 in Florida's Special Places,Land Conservation

In what has become an annual exercise, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) along with other agencies, yesterday presented to the Legislature reductions they would make if ordered to reduce their budgets by 15%. In a year when the state faces a nearly $4B shortfall, this is likely to be more than just an exercise; and with the high proportion of freshman members, there is less familiarity than past years with the importance of Florida’s environmental programs.

Part of DEP’s proposal last year, which was not adopted, was to close some parks to public access to result in expense savings. This year, this proposal includes an unprecedented 53 state parks which garner the least attendance and do not have camping, despite being economic engines in some of Florida’s smallest and most rural communities.

Additionally, three parks—Egmont Key, Three Rivers and Forest Capital—are proposed to be returned to their primary owners, whether or not those owners have the capacity to manage them for conservation and public access.

Wednesday in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Committee, members seemed concerned but not willing to simply remove these cuts from the table. One suggested these lands should be sold to put them back on county tax rolls. Another suggested enlisting cash-strapped local governments to manage them. A third suggested closing them “except on weekends.”

The list of proposed park closures is below. Are these some of the places you would consider among Florida’s Special Places? Tell us why these sites are important to you, and share that with your legislators too. The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and Senate General Government Appropriations Committee will be the first to consider which cuts they will accept.

Of course, more reductions were proposed in DEP as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee and other important conservation programs. Be sure you are subscribed to Audubon’s Advocate e-newsletter to receive our thorough summary at the end of this and each committee week, through the State Legislative Session.

    The 53 Florida State Parks
  • Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park, Haines City
  • Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park, Stuart
  • Big Shoals State Park, White Springs
  • Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, Flagler Beach
  • Camp Helen State Park, Panama City Beach
  • Cedar Key State Museum State Park, Cedar Key
  • Colt Creek State Park, Lakeland
  • Constitution Convention Museum State Park, Port St. Joe
  • Crystal River Archaeological State Park, Crystal River
  • Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, Bushnell
  • Dagny Johsnon Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, Key Largo
  • Deer Lake State Park, Santa Rosa Beach
  • Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, Gainesville
  • Don Pedro Island State Park, Boca Granda
  • Dudley Farm Historic State Park, Newberry
  • Dunn’s Creek State Park, Pomona
  • Estero Bay Preserve State Park, Estero
  • Fort Cooper State Park, Inverness
  • Fort George Island Cultural State Park, Jacksonville
  • Fort Mose Historic State Park, St. Augustine
  • John Gorrie Museum State Park, Apalachicola
  • Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, Ellenton
  • Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park, Tallahassee
  • Lake June-in-Winter Scrub State Park, Sebring
  • Lake Talquin State Park, Tallahassee
  • Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park, Tallahassee
  • Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park, Islamorada
  • Madison Blue Spring State Park, Lee
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, Cross Creek
  • Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park, Woodville
  • Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, Olustee
  • Orman House Historic State Park, Apalachicola
  • Paynes Creek Historic State Park, Bowling Green
  • Peacock Springs State Park, Luraville
  • Perdido Key State Park, Pensacola
  • Ponce de Leon Springs State Park, Ponce de Leon
  • Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park, Jacksonville
  • Rock Springs Run State Reserve, Sorrento
  • San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, Alachua
  • San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, St. Marks
  • Savannas Preserve State Park, Jensen Beach
  • St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park, Stuart
  • St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere
  • Suwannee River Wilderness Trail/Nature and Heritage Tourism Center, White Springs
  • Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, Palmetto
  • The Barnacle Historic State Park, Coconut Grove
  • Troy Spring State Park, Branford
  • Wacasassa Bay Preserve State Park, Cedar Key
  • Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, Palm Coast
  • Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, Port Richey
  • Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, Islamorada
  • Ybor City Museum State Park, Tampa
  • Yellow River Marsh Preserve State Park, Holt

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