KEY WEST, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service joined Naval Air Station Key West, the city of Key West and other local representatives for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new entrance to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. The new entrance includes a new access route for pedestrians and vehicles leading into the park, a new ranger station and a new ticket booth for pedestrians and bicyclists. Other improvements that were part of the $1.7 million project include a new road, sidewalks, bike lanes, the installation of a new entry gate, an ornamental security fence and new lighting.
"I'm excited to open this new entrance that will improve access and convenience at Florida's southernmost state park," said Florida State Parks Assistant Director Matt Mitchell. "Many thanks to all of our partners on this project including NAS Key West and the city of Key West, as well as our staff and volunteers who made this project a reality."Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973, Florida’s southernmost state park is popular for recreation, as well as U.S. military history. The fort was one of a series built in the mid-1800s to defend the nation’s southeastern coastline. Completed in 1866, Fort Zachary Taylor played important roles in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Key West’s favorite beach, located at the southern end of the park, provides opportunities for picnicking, swimming, snorkeling and fishing.
(the above image is of Matt Mitchell, Florida State Parks assistant Directors; Captain Bobby Baker, commander, NAS Key West, Erin Muir, assistant to Representative Holly Rashchein; Jim Scholl, Key West City manager; and John Mael, Florida State Parks District 5 bureau chief.)