• 03/11/2017 11:22 AM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

    There are two Florida State Parks who are working hard to raise funds for special projects. These might be of interest to you and you may be able to help –

    Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park 

    Seminole Tribe

    The flag of the Seminole Tribe of Florida features the four traditional colors of the Seminole and Miccosukee people. The central seal—with its fire and open, palm-thatched hut, called a chickee—represents the tribal council.

    This park protects and interprets the place where one of the most significant battles of the Second Seminole War took place, the Battle of Okeechobee. The project proposes to construct a large limestone monument with interpretive plaques to honor those who fought and to tell about the battle and significance of the site. Some of the wording on the plaques will be:

    “The Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park is truly hallowed ground on which the great patriots and warriors who so valiantly fought in this historic battle are honored and memorialized with the dignity they so richly deserve.”

    The cost of this monument is $14,000. Through a lot of hard work and tenacity by the fundraising team led by Mrs. Susan George, of the Okeechobee Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, $10,000 has already been raised. Donations large and small have been received including a generous donation from the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

    The hope is to raise the remaining money and have the monument in place in time to hold a dedication ceremony during the 2017 Okeechobee Centennial Celebration. If you would like to help with a tax-deductible donation you can send a check (marked, “For Okeechobee Battlefield Monument”) to:

    Okeechobee Chapter, NSDAR

    Rhonda Watt, Treasurer

    3570 SW 16th St.

    Okeechobee, FL 34974-4743

    Or, you can make an online donation to the Friends of the Florida State Parks here: Donate Now.

    Please be sure to indicate that it is for the Okeechobee Battlefield Monument. We will forward your donation to them.

    Fort Clinch State Park

    Statue to honor the Civilian Conservation Corp’s efforts during the 1937 restoration of Fort Clinch.

    Friends of Fort Clinch request support to honor Civilian Conservation Corp. Excerpt of article by Jim McCannell here:

    "Are you a descendant of a CCC worker or do you know someone who is? Are you an interested citizen who is grateful for the work that the CCC accomplished? If so, the Friends of Fort Clinch group needs your help and support in preserving the legacy of these unsung heroes who helped to make our state park a reality."

    The CCC restoration work was done from 1937 to 1942 and, today, we continue to benefit by having Ft. Clinch to enjoy and learn from. You can help the Friends of Fort Clinch State Park purchase a “CCC Worker” statue to commemorate and honor the work that the Civilian Conservation Corps did by sending a donation (marked, “For CCC Statue”) to:

    Friends of Fort Clinch State Park

    2601 Atlantic Ave.

    Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

    Or, you can make an online donation to the Friends of the Florida State Parks here: Donate Now.

    Please be sure to indicate that it is for the CCC Workers Statue. We will forward your donation to them.

  • 03/10/2017 10:42 AM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

    Governor Scott’s recommended budget of more than $50 million for 2017 is a 17% increase over the last budget. More than $50 million is requested for state park enhancements, management and facility improvements which include:

    • $40 million – State Park Facility Improvements
    • $4 million – ADA Repairs/Remove Access Barriers
    • $2.7 million – Fire Equipment
    • $1.9 million – Road Repairs for State Parks
    • $1 million – Parks and Community Trails Program (PACT)
    • $450,000 – Fire Trucks

    Join us in support of this $50 million budget by thanking Governor Scott for the proposed increase in funding for our treasured State Parks. And, just as important, urge your legislators to approve it.

    Contact Information for Governor Rick Scott

    Contact Information for the Florida Senate

    Find your senator -

    Contact Information for the Florida House

    Find your representative -

    What to say in your letters/emails?

    • Let them know how Florida State Parks benefit you personally, be it rest, play, wildlife observations, family gatherings…...
    • Use the below impressive statistics which show how important Florida State Parks & Trails are to Florida’s economy:

    Florida’s state park system is comprised of 174 state parks, trails and historic sites on 791,145 acres. The system serves more than 31 million visitors annually, has an economic impact over $2.8 billion, and in the form of state sales taxes, contributes $191,604,535 to the state’s general revenue. More than 45,525 jobs were created in the local economies. Visitors come in part to enjoy Florida’s natural environment, “…the Real Florida.”

  • 11/15/2016 11:35 AM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

    Look at these Happy Rangers! The Friends of Silver Springs State Park  purchased these beauties for the park. One of the many benefits of having a group like this is that it can help the park staff do their jobs. This makes for enhanced services to park visitors! 

  • 11/11/2016 11:20 AM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

    On behalf of the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism (Florida SEE), I would like to invite you to participate in a survey on ecotourism educational topics. Florida SEE hopes to provide increased educational opportunities for its members and all ecotourism professionals in Florida, but we would like to know what YOU are interested in.
    Please complete this short questionnaire (click on the link below), so we can better understand what information you want to learn about.

    Follow this link to the Survey:

    Take the survey

    Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:

     Also, if you would like more information on Florida SEE please go to

  • 11/02/2016 9:00 AM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

    Find Your Park!

    National Park Service Celebrates 100 Years in 2016

    St. Augustine, Fla. - The National Park Service this year celebrates its 100th anniversary. The U.S has over 400 national parks; a remarkable representation of America’s natural and historical legacy. And no national park is more historic than the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine.

    The Castillo de San Marcos

    The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S. After 9 wooden forts designed to protect St. Augustine were burned by invaders, the Spanish militia took on the monumental task of constructing a stone fort that would protect the city and its treasury from pirates, the British and other attackers. The Castillo is made from coquina, a locally sourced stone-like compound made of shell and limestone. The use of coquina as the building material for both the Castillo de San Marcos and the nearby Fort Matanzas created fortresses that were nearly indestructible. Construction of the Castillo began in 1672 and took 23 years to complete. This stronger fortress was never taken in battle. The Castillo played a pivotal role in protecting Spanish St. Augustine from the 1700s to the late 1800s.

    In 1924, the Castillo, or Fort Marion as it was known at the time, was declared a national monument by President Calvin Coolidge. He signed a proclamation that also designated Fort Matanzas a national monument.

    Fort Matanzas

    Fort Matanzas, located on the Intracoastal Waterway south of St. Augustine, was built by Spanish soldiers as the back door protecting the city by preventing the British sailing through Matanzas Bay from invading St. Augustine. Today, Fort Matanzas has grown to a park of almost 300 acres and features walking trails, picnic areas, small tidal beaches and of course the fort located on Rattlesnake Island, which visitors get to by ferry.

    State and County Parks

    Like the national parks, state and county parks on Florida’s Historic Coast are cherished playgrounds for visitors of all ages. Find your park, explore and enjoy!

    Anastasia State Park

    One of Florida’s most popular parks with its white quartz sands is perfect for a day at the beach with the family. The quiet beaches here are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, fishing and bird watching. You’ll find plenty of parking, permanent restrooms, snack bar and picnic areas, and watersport rentals. In 2015, Travel + Leisure magazine included Anastasia State Park on its list of America’s prettiest beach campsites, with full service and primitive camping available.

    GTM Research Reserve

    Located on scenic A1A, the GTM Research Reserve is a hiker’s delight with 9 plus miles of nature trails. The coastal estuary offers incredible views of lush vegetation, nesting bald eagles, and possible encounters with the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin and the West Indian manatee. The GTM is a popular fishing spot with boat ramp access. GTM volunteers and staff offer monthly guided beach explorations and seining workshops. Natural and cultural history exhibits that illustrate the many functions of the coastal and estuarine ecosystem can be viewed in the Environmental Education Center.

    Fort Mose State Park

    A state park, Fort Mose is historically significant as home to the first free African settlement in the U.S. Here, in 1738, slaves fled the British and were granted freedom by the Spanish in exchange for conversion to Catholicism and allegiance to the Spanish crown. Today the park has a history museum and hosts several festivals and historic re-enactments throughout the year.

    Favor Dykes State Park

    The tranquil Favor Dykes State Park borders Pellicer Creek as it winds along Florida's east coast highways down to the Matanzas River portion of the Intracoastal Waterway. Popular for birding with more than 100 bird species seen during spring and fall migrations, Favor Dykes State Park is a paddling launch site and offers fishing, picnicking, and nature walks, as well as a full service camp ground in a pristine wooded area.

    St. Johns County Parks & Recreation

    St. Johns County has a collection of pristine parks and natural habitat. From the historic Alpine Groves Park on the St. Johns River to the natural oasis of Bird Island Park at Ponte Vedra Beach.

    Florida’s Historic Coast’s parks offer something for everyone. For more information on parks, outdoor activities and other things to do in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches, visit

    Located midway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida's Historic Coast includes historic St. Augustine, the outstanding golf and seaside elegance of Ponte Vedra and 42 miles of pristine Atlantic beaches. For more information on events, activities, holiday getaways, accommodations and to plan your vacation in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at, become a fan on Facebook or call 1.800.653.2489.

    # # #


    Barbara Golden, 904.209.4425

    Kathy Catron, 904.209.4424

  • 11/01/2016 4:48 PM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

    Ft. Mose State Park

    St. Augustine, Fla.

    Sit quietly in the natural preserve that is Fort Mose state park where people from different countries came together as equals in a shared cause – freedom in a land of their own.  In 1738, slaves fleeing from the British were granted their freedom by the Spanish who occupied St. Augustine. In exchange for converting to Catholicism and pledging to join the Spanish in defending the territory from their enemies, these former slaves found a home of their own.  That settlement was Fort Mose, where free men and their families formed a militia and the northern defense post for the nation’s oldest city.

    Actually, freedom in St. Augustine goes back even further for African-Americans. Africans were among the explorers and soldiers who first discovered Florida, sailing with Ponce de Leon and Pedro Menendez – not as slaves, but as soldiers in the service of Spain.

    Fort Mose has been recognized as one of the original sites on the southern route of the Underground Railroad. In 1994 the site was designated as a National Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The grounds include a sundrenched boardwalk with interpretive signage that details the life and heritage of these first free Black Americans. The park’s museum features exhibits and historic reenactments are scheduled throughout the year.

    Fort Mose is located at 15 Fort Mose Trail, less than 5 minutes from the historical attractions, restaurants and shopping of the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine.

    Here are some of the annual events that celebrate Ft. Mose and its place in history:

    Last Saturdays - Living History Days at Fort Mose 

    From 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., volunteers in period clothing offer visitors a fascinating glimpse into the past at the site of the first, legally-sanctioned, free black community in the United States. 904-823-2232

    February - Flight to Freedom at Fort Mose  

    Every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors will be taken on a guided walk along the freedom trail to experience what it was like for the hundreds of slaves who traveled to Fort Mose in search of freedom from the British. 904-823-2232

    March - Founding of Fort Mose                                       

    The founding of Fort Mose on March 15, 1738 is the central theme of programs presented from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., noted experts from the University of Florida or University of South Florida will present enlightening discussions of the role of slavery in the struggle between Spain and Britain for control of the southeastern United States904-823-2232

    May - The Waning Days of the Fort Mose

    Visitors to St. Augustine’s Fort Mose State Park experience life at the fort during the final days of its existence.  From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., programs will focus on the lives of former British slaves who found freedom at the Spanish fort.  904-823-2232

    June - Battle of Bloody Mose                           

    This 6th annual re-enactment of the June 26, 1740 Battle of Bloody Mose provides visitors with an exciting look at this pivotal battle between the British under the command of Georgia’s James Oglethorpe and the Spanish militia composed of former British slaves who had been granted their freedom by the Spanish.  904-823-2232

    September -  Fort Mose: Colonial Children Story Time and Crafts                                         

    From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., children visiting Fort Mose State Park will learn about what life was like for African children living at Fort Mose in 1738. Storytellers will share the adventures of children whose families found freedom by fleeing to Spanish Florida from British colonies to the north.  Children will also have an opportunity to make their own Spanish colonial crafts, learn about flint lock muskets and drill with the Spanish soldiers who defended Fort Mose.  904-823-2232

  • 10/26/2016 11:36 AM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

    Florida’s Historic Coast® encompasses the entirety of St. Johns County including St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and The Beaches.

    St. Augustine,  the oldest city in the United States, features more than 60 historic sites and attractions, national monuments, architecturally-rich churches and unspoiled natural settings – all providing a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. In 2015, the city will celebrate its 450th anniversary with events to commemorate this historic milestone (

    Ponte Vedra Beach is home to the PGA TOUR; world-class golf and tennis facilities; award-winning spas; an abundance of boutique shopping; and the finest collection of recreational and social amenities available.

    The Beaches of Florida’s Historic Coast span 42 miles from Ponte Vedra, in the north, to Marineland in the south. The seaside Anastasia State Park has more than 1,600 acres featuring four miles of pristine beach, a tidal salt marsh, and a maritime and upland hammock. There is also an archaeological site where coquina rock was mined to create the nearby Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. The activities are varied and plentiful - from swimming and surfing to shell collecting and hiking. The beaches of this beautiful stretch of Atlantic shoreline offer year-round fun in a seaside paradise.

    For more information on events, activities, getaway and vacation opportunities in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at, become a fan on Facebook at or call 1.800.653.2489

  • 10/26/2016 11:03 AM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)


    Posted: 9/29/2016 | By: Florida Park Service

    KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. - A French organization, Association de Paralyses de France (APF), took a group of French travelers on a tour of Florida. During their tour, they visited Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. The General Manager of the APF, Laurent Roffe, sent this letter to Park Management Lu Dodson and Art Yerian after their stay thanking them for a wonderful visit:

    "Dear Art and Lu,

    On behalf of the French organization APF (Association des Paralyses de France) and our company Tapooz Travel, I would like to express our appreciation and gratitude for a wonderful visit of the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park this past July. 

    As you may remember, we organized this visit as part of a tour of Florida with a group of French travelers, many of them in wheelchairs. We were all delighted to see all the efforts made to make the Park accessible to people with mobility limitations. We all enjoyed walking along the beautiful path, admiring the lighthouse and visiting the keeper's cottage. Everybody commented on the quality and the display of the historical information. It really gave us a sense of the history and development of early Florida.

    A special note of appreciation goes to the Ranger that led the tour. He was absolutely fantastic. Extremely knowledgeable, patient, professional and with a relaxed manner that put everyone at ease and feel welcome. Thank you.

    Kind regards,

    Laurent Roffe, General Manager

    Tapooz Travel LLC"

    Pictures taken by: Tapooz Travel

    View the original article here:

  • 10/14/2016 3:42 PM | Don Philpott (Administrator)

    Hurricane Matthew did enormous damage to scores of Florida's state parks along the eastern coast yet today, less than a week later, all but one is back open to the public. This is due to an herculean effort by park staff and volunteers who worked almost round the clock to repair damage, clear fallen trees, pump out flooded areas and close breached sea and river walls. Park teams from areas not affected by the storm  travelled across the state to work alongside their colleagues at parks that had been hit. The teamwork spanned every level of park employee from the hands on involvement of the Deputy Secretary and Park Director to volunteers who turned out to help even though their own homes had been damaged. People in the park service do not do the job for the money but because they love the parks and an event like Matthew demonstrates that perfectly. The work was done quickly and efficiently without fuss or publicity. No wonder we have the best park system in the nation - and the best staff and volunteers as well.

  • 10/11/2016 11:28 AM | Don Philpott (Administrator)

    Had a great mtg with Trini and the folks at ICSP's CSO last night to discuss their very successful LIFE program and how we as FFSP can support them. It is good to know that we have a solid foundation on which to build. There are now five state parks offering the LIFE program and in November Wekiwa Springs State Park joins that list. If you are interested in developing the LIFE program at your park let us know. If you are an educator and would like to see LIFE offered at a park near you, let us know. The LIFE program is not only a critical learning tool for engaging young minds and introducing them to science based tasks, it also introduces hundreds of children to our wonderful state park system.

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