Posted by: soniahs | February 7, 2011

Florida government proposes closing 53 state parks

In an effort to cut the massively-in-the-red state budget, the Florida legislature has ordered state agencies to target their programs for a 15% across the board spending cut. For the Department of Environmental Protection, the agency tasked with…well, protecting the environment, this has resulted in a proposal to close 53 state parks.

Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve may be closed (photo: DEP).

As the link above suggests, while these parks tend to be smaller and less-visited (parks with camping facilities are absolutely swamped with visitors pretty much all rear round- no pun really intended but hard to avoid), they’re often the economic engines for poor, rural communities. They are also places where Florida residents-many of them recent immigrants into the state-and visitors can learn about the unique history and ecology of the state. Many of the parks proposed for closure contain lesser-known archeological sites, or threatened and endangered species. Without maintenance, these sites could easily be overrun by weedy invasive species or perhaps looted for artifacts (a definite possibility, in the challenging economy).

Florida Audubon is organizing a Facebook campaign to get park users to share their stories about the parks which are proposed to be closed. I’ll also write about my experiences at some of them on this blog. Meanwhile, here’s a list of the parks:

  • Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park, Haines City
  • Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park, Stuart
  • Big Shoals State Park, White Springs
  • Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, Flagler Beach
  • Camp Helen State Park, Panama City Beach
  • Cedar Key State Museum State Park, Cedar Key
  • Colt Creek State Park, Lakeland
  • Constitution Convention Museum State Park, Port St. Joe
  • Crystal River Archaeological State Park, Crystal River
  • Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, Bushnell
  • Dagny Johsnon Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, Key Largo
  • Deer Lake State Park, Santa Rosa Beach
  • Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, Gainesville
  • Don Pedro Island State Park, Boca Granda
  • Dudley Farm Historic State Park, Newberry
  • Dunn’s Creek State Park, Pomona
  • Estero Bay Preserve State Park, Estero
  • Fort Cooper State Park, Inverness
  • Fort George Island Cultural State Park, Jacksonville
  • Fort Mose Historic State Park, St. Augustine
  • John Gorrie Museum State Park, Apalachicola
  • Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, Ellenton
  • Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park, Tallahassee
  • Lake June-in-Winter Scrub State Park, Sebring
  • Lake Talquin State Park, Tallahassee
  • Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park, Tallahassee
  • Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park, Islamorada
  • Madison Blue Spring State Park, Lee
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, Cross Creek
  • Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park, Woodville
  • Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, Olustee
  • Orman House Historic State Park, Apalachicola
  • Paynes Creek Historic State Park, Bowling Green
  • Peacock Springs State Park, Luraville
  • Perdido Key State Park, Pensacola
  • Ponce de Leon Springs State Park, Ponce de Leon
  • Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park, Jacksonville
  • Rock Springs Run State Reserve, Sorrento
  • San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, Alachua
  • San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, St. Marks
  • Savannas Preserve State Park, Jensen Beach
  • St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park, Stuart
  • St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere
  • Suwannee River Wilderness Trail/Nature and Heritage Tourism Center, White Springs
  • Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, Palmetto
  • The Barnacle Historic State Park, Coconut Grove
  • Troy Spring State Park, Branford
  • Wacasassa Bay Preserve State Park, Cedar Key
  • Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, Palm Coast
  • Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, Port Richey
  • Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, Islamorada
  • Ybor City Museum State Park, Tampa
  • Yellow River Marsh Preserve State Park, Holt


  1. The Barnacle Historic State Parks should be turned over to Miami-Dade County or the City of Miami or a private non-profit. It is a lovely location and a charming historic house but the place suffers from having a largely absent manager who lives there part-time and is a clueless duffus. And there is very little supervision by the state park system. More local involvement would be a great help.

    Estero is another place that seems to be badly managed and would benefit from professional help which isn’t located hundres of miles away.


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