Last night, Governor DeSantis signed the enabling bill that authorizes a specialty license plate for Florida’s award-winning state parks.

“We are grateful that the Governor has signed this bill. It will have a huge impact on our fabulous state parks,” said Gil Ziffer, President of the Florida State Parks Foundation, which sponsored the legislation. Pre-sales of the specialty plate will start in October.

“Thanks to overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, the Florida State Parks specialty license plate is now a reality”, he said. “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. 

“Special thanks go to Senator Dennis Baxley and Representative Allison Tant for successfully championing the bill,” 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 Senator Dennis Baxley, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. 

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 significant and will provide impactful 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 this specialty license plate will help us achieve this,” she said.

“Florida’s state parks offer safe environments to recreate and socialize. 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 and important role 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 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 represents private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests.

About the Author: Foundation Staff