The Florida State Parks Foundation today applauded the Florida Legislature for its appropriation of $140 million for Florida’s award-winning state parks, the best in the nation.
Foundation President Gil Ziffer, said, “Florida State Parks and Trails represent one of the state’s greatest success stories. They are a major contributor to the state’s tourism industry, support thousands of jobs and pour billions of dollars into the state’s economy. At the same time, they preserve many of the jewels of our natural environment and Florida’s significant historical and cultural sites. The appropriation demonstrates our legislator’s ongoing commitment to supporting our state parks.”
The House and Senate finally approved $37 million for park improvements, $4 million for ADA improvements and spending authority of almost $100 million. The Senate originally offered $27 million but agreed to match the House position after an intense email campaign by the Foundation. Florida Park Service staff also benefit from a much needed 3% raise for all state employees.
“As the acknowledged premier state park system in the nation, it is vital that the Florida Park Service receives adequate funding to ensure that our state parks continue to be the best that they can be. When you compare the $41 million that has been appropriated with the $2.6 billion in economic impact the state parks generated last year from almost 30 million visitors, it is difficult to think of a better return on the investment anywhere,” said Foundation CEO Julia Gill Woodward.
“We are grateful for the Florida State Parks Foundation’s successful efforts to educate legislators about the value and benefits of state parks,” said Florida State Park’s Director Eric Draper.
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.