The Florida State Parks Foundation welcomes the decision to begin reopening Florida’s award-winning state parks and allow Floridians to enjoy once again all the benefits that they have to offer.
“At this time of incredible stress in the lives of so many people, beginning to reopen the parks allows our residents and visitors to spend quality time outdoors in a safe environment,” said Foundation CEO Julia Gill Woodward.
“Numerous studies have shown that nature is actually good for our health and well-being and Florida’s state parks are the ideal place to commune with nature, reduce stress levels and unwind,” she said. “And by continuing to be ever vigilant in practicing social distancing, our parks can also provide a safe outlet for so many.”
Being stuck indoors tends to reduce exercise levels while visiting a state park allows you to walk, jog, cycle, canoe and maybe swim – all activities that improve health and well-being.
Another benefit is that you become more relaxed. According toresearch, it only takes five minutes to experience the relaxing effects of nature. Your concentration will also improve. Going outside can have some impactful results on your brainpower. Studies show that spending time outside can improve creative thinking.
People who spend more time outdoors have lower blood pressure, lower cortisol levels and a lower pulse than people who spend more time indoors or in urban areas.
“We obviously want our residents and visitors to feel safe in our state parks. Every effort is being made to provide an outdoors opportunity with safety and enjoyment achievable in the same visit and our Foundation stands ready to support the Florida Park Service, its staff and volunteers in any way we can,” said Gil Ziffer, President of the Florida State Parks Foundation.
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.