HOMOSASSA, FL – Senate President Wilton Simpson, who represents District 10, visited the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park yesterday as a guest of the Florida State Parks Foundation and the Florida Park Service.

The visit, ahead of next January’s Legislative Session, was to brief President Simpson about new developments at the park and to discuss issues affecting all of Florida’s 175 award-winning parks and trails. 

President Simpson has long made the environment a priority, especially the Everglades. In 2013, he successfully introduced legislation dealing with the restoration of the Everglades, which allocated $880 million for water quality restoration and $32 million to be spent annually on reducing the amount of phosphorus that flows into the region.

“We appreciate President Simpson spending time at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park today and for his commitment to our state parks and trails,” said Florida State Parks Foundation Vice President Don Philpott. 

“It’s always a great day when you get a chance to visit one of Florida’s nationally-recognized, award-winning state parks,” said President Simpson. “I am grateful to the dedicated women and men within our state park system who work hard each and every day to welcome visitors from around the state and across the country. Preserving the beautiful natural resources of our state for future generations to enjoy has and will continue to be a priority for me and my colleagues in the Florida Senate.” 

“Not only are our parks natural treasures, but economic generators as well. Our award-winning state parks attract 24 million visitors from around the world, have an economic impact to the state of $2.2 billion and support more than 31,000 jobs,” Philpott said. “And, as 2020 clearly demonstrated, Florida’s state parks play an important role in providing open spaces where people can recreate and exercise in a safe, socially distanced environment.”

The 200-acre Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park attracts more than 228,000 visitors a year and generates more than $21.4 million to the state’s economy as well as supporting 300 local jobs. 

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