The Florida State Parks Foundation today applauded the Legislature’s decision to establish a specialty license plate for Florida’s award-winning state parks.
“Thanks to overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, the Florida State Park specialty license plate is one step away from being a reality”, said Foundation President Gil Ziffer. “It is extremely unusual for an enabling bill like this to go through in just one legislative session but that demonstrates how much support it had in both chambers,” he said.
“Our Florida State Parks are a wonderful resource for our citizens to learn, grow and play. Our parks need to be protected and I am excited to get this license plate bill passed and help provide some much-needed funding to preserve these state treasures,” said Senate bill sponsor, Senator Dennis Baxley.
House bill sponsor, Representative Allison Tant said, “The “Florida State Parks” specialty license plate will provide funding to address crumbling infrastructure, improve structures, preserve animal and plant habitats, and provide more ADA certified improvements to increase access to the great outdoors”.
“The approval of the specialty state park license plate is huge and will provide significant and ongoing funding to enable us to protect and preserve the nation’s best state park system," said Foundation CEO Julia Gill Woodward.
“Although our state parks are the only four-time National Gold Medal winners for excellence, there is much that needs to be done to ensure they continue to be recognized as world leaders. Funds from a specialty license plate will help us achieve this,” she said.
“Florida’s state parks play an important role in providing open spaces where people can recreate and exercise in a safe, socially distanced environment. The demand for these open spaces will continue to increase as Florida’s population is expected to top 23 million by 2025 and tourism numbers grow,” she added. “To meet this growing demand, it is important that state parks continue to provide exceptional value in terms of visitor experience and the range of outdoor pursuits available. It is also important that these pursuits are available to the widest possible audience both in terms of accessibility and diversity."
The bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature, with anticipation of being signed into law.
The Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.
It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy.
The volunteer Board of Directors represent private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests.