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Florida State Parks to Waive Entrance Fees on Sunday, July 19

July 16, 2009

florida-state-parksTALLAHASSEE – Today, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida Park Service announced daily entrance fees will be waived at Florida’s state parks on Sunday, July 19, 2009 – recognizing National Parks and Recreation Month.

“Florida’s award-winning state park system is one of the best in the country, providing high quality recreation at an unmatched value,” said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole. “By offering free entrance to state parks on July 19, and encouraging state park visitation throughout National Parks and Recreation Month, we hope to foster a deeper appreciation of our state’s natural resources and the recreational, historical and cultural value parks contribute to our great state.”

In addition to offering free entrance on Sunday, July 19, for National Parks and Recreation Month, the Florida Park Service will also offer free entrance to visitors with a library card or with the donation of a new or gently used family friendly book on Friday, September 11 through Sunday, September 13, for State Park Literacy Month and on November 11 for Veteran’s Day.

“We are pleased to offer free admission into Florida’s state parks on these three occasions to encourage tourism and outdoor activity,” said DEP Florida Park Service Director Mike Bullock. “The value of state parks is much greater than often realized, impacting healthy lifestyles, educating visitors about natural and cultural resources, as well as making an economic impact of more than $1 billion to Florida’s communities.”

Since 1985, the National Recreation and Park Association has designated July as National Parks and Recreation Month. This year, the Florida Park Service is offering a free entrance day and continuing its Family. Friends. Fun. campaign by encouraging children and families to engage in outdoor activity at one of 160 Florida state parks throughout July.

Visitors can learn about ways to celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month by viewing the 100 activities featured as part of DEP’s Rediscover Florida – 100 Ways in 100 Days campaign. The initiative encourages Floridians to explore the many exciting and affordable recreation opportunities in their own backyards. From the traditional activities – hiking, biking, fishing, picnicking or camping, to the unique – festivals, museums and education centers, there are countless activities to experience and enjoy. Visitors to the Rediscover Florida Web site can explore an interactive list of 100 activities and track how many of the activities they can complete. To view the list, visit and click Rediscover Florida.

Joining, in the National Parks and Recreation Month celebration is The Get Outdoors Florida! Coalition, a partnership of land managers, government agencies, children’s advocates, health care professionals, public interest groups and other individuals formed in 2008. The coalition is the product of a wide array of partners coming together to address societal needs including public well-being, health issues and natural resource conservation. The coalition envisions a healthy Florida community that is connected with nature and reflects social diversity exhibiting a conservation ethic as well as ensuring a sustainable future and recreational opportunities.

Tips for outdoor activities, as well as a calendar featuring a wide variety of planned outdoor events for youth, families and mentors can be found on the Coalition’s Web site, .

The first two-time Gold Medal winner honoring the nation’s best state park service, Florida’s state park system is one of the largest 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 beach, provide an affordable outing for people of all ages. Caladesi Island State Park, just off the coast of Pinellas County, was honored with the coveted Best Beach in the Nation award in 2008.

To view the Governor’s Park and Recreation Month proclamation, visit

To learn more about Florida’s state parks, visit .

Free day-use entrance does not apply at Skyway Fishing Pier State Park in Tampa Bay. Other state park usage fees still apply.

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