Florida state park attendance hits a new high
More people than ever visited state parks in Florida during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. The Florida Park Service has announced that more than 21.4 million people visited a state park during the past year. That's an increase of approximately 700,000 people or 3.5 percent from the previous year.
"These record-setting visitor numbers illustrate the demand for recreational and educational experiences that are affordable, close to home and protective of Florida's valuable natural resources," said Florida DEP's Deputy Secretary for Land and Recreation Bob Ballard.
He also thanked Governor Crist and the Florida Legislature for enabling the DEP to keep all of the state's 160 state parks open and fully operational despite difficult economic times.
Among the most popular state parks in the state are Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin, St. Andrew's State Park in Panama City, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne and Gasparilla Island State Park in Boca Grande.
The Florida Park Service will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2010 with special events in parks throughout the state beginning in January.
It is one of the largest state park systems in the country with 160 parks, most of which are open 365 days a year. Florida's state parks, which span more than 700,000 acres and include more than 100 miles of sandy white beaches, provide an affordable outing for people of all ages.