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Natural Awakenings

Frugal Fun: Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Florida State Parks

Created in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, the Florida State Parks system has grown from eight to 160 parks that include 100 miles of beaches, eight National Historical Landmarks and 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as lakes, rivers and springs. Today, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service manages more than 700,000 acres of Florida’s natural environment. It stands as the National Recreation and Park Association’s first and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the nation’s best park service.

 “The 75th anniversary of the Florida State Parks system represents an important milestone in the state’s history, showing the foresight of Florida’s early leaders to preserve valuable pieces of the state’s landscape,” says Florida Park Service Director Mike Bullock. He speaks on behalf of the organization’s 1,000 staff, aided by 6,000 volunteers who last year contributed 1.2 million hours of service. They help maintain the system’s 3,400 campsites, 260 cabins and 14,000 park programs in the public lands enjoyed by 21.4 million park visitors last year. The annual economic impact is nearly $1 billion.

Affordable, family-friendly activities encompass swimming, hiking, bicycling, paddling, diving, fishing, camping, birding, ranger-led tours and events. Everyone is invited to enjoy the 25 signature anniversary events scheduled throughout 2010.

 

Find special events, contests and discounts at http://FloridaStateParks.org and http://Twitter.com/FLstateparks.

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