ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Rep. Sam Garrison, who serves the 11th district in the Florida House of Representatives, today visited Anastasia State Park and Fort Mose Historic State Park as a guest of the Florida State Parks Foundation and the Florida Park Service.
Accompanied by Florida State Parks Director Chuck Hatcher and Foundation CEO Julia Gill Woodward, Rep. Garrison toured two of Florida’s most naturally and historically significant state parks.
Anastasia State Park, in St. Augustine Beach, features more than 1,600 acres of beaches, tidal marshes, maritime hammocks and sand dunes along the Atlantic Ocean. Fort Mose Historic State Park, located only a few miles north of downtown St. Augustine, is the site of the first legally sanctioned free African settlement in what is now the United States.
While exploring, Rep. Garrison learned of new developments and discussed a wide variety of topics related to Florida’s award-winning state parks. Florida State Parks is the only four-time winner of the National Gold Medal for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, and, in 2022, received a historic $232 million allocation from the Florida Legislature.
“Our state parks are the best in the country, and there are some especially beautiful places here in Northeast Florida,” Garrison said. “The Florida House is committed to preserving Florida’s natural treasures for generations to come.”
“We are fortunate to have incredible support from our lawmakers and are so appreciative of their commitment to sustaining and improving our state parks,” Hatcher said. “We had a great day with Rep. Garrison and are thankful for the opportunity to share our cultural and historical resources at Anastasia State Park and Fort Mose Historic State Park.”
In addition to their role in preserving the state’s natural, cultural and historical resources, Florida’s state parks are also significant drivers for tourism and revenue. A record 32 million people visited Florida State Parks last year, generating an estimated economic impact of more than $3 billion.
Anastasia State Park welcomed nearly 800,000 visitors in the most recent fiscal year, bringing along an estimated $92.6 million in economic impact. More than 100,000 people visited Fort Mose Historic State Park during that time, with an estimated economic impact of more than $12 million.
“Year after year, our state parks show themselves to be an incredible investment,” Woodward said. “People come from all over the world to see these natural treasures, and it is always a treat to be able to share them with our elected officials. We thank Rep. Garrison for his time and support.”
The Florida State Parks 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.