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~Consider Giving A Gift That Can Be Used All Year~


Give the gift of visiting Lu the hippo year-round at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park with a Florida State Parks Annual Pass.

TALLAHASSEE- With the holiday season upon us and the search for the perfect gift continuing, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection suggests giving a Florida State Parks Annual Pass this year. The pass is reusable for an entire year for entrance to Florida's award-winning state parks.

The pass allows cardholders to enter all state parks* in Florida for up to one year from the month purchased. Whether it is vacationing at a beach, swimming in one of the iconic springs or picnicking with the family, this pass provides the ability to enjoy nature’s treasures all year without having to pay every time you go to a state park.

“The Annual Entrance Pass allows cardholders to visit our award-winning state park and state trails throughout the year,” said Donald Forgione, Director of Florida Park Service. “No matter where you are in Florida, you can find a state park within one hour’s drive for hiking, bicycling, bird-watching or enjoying Florida’s famous sunshine.”  

Passes can be bought for individuals for $60, while a family annual park pass which allows entry for up to eight people is $120. They can be bought at all state parks at ranger stations or museums, but please call ahead to ensure availability. They may also be purchased online or by mail, which will take three to four weeks for delivery.

Also in time for holidays, give the gift of Florida culture with tickets to the 2014 Florida Folk Festival. Now in its 62nd year, the festival celebrates the best of local art and music with more than 300 performances. Tickets are already on sale for this year’s event on Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25, at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs. Visit to buy your tickets today. 

In addition to the Florida State Parks Annual Pass, here are some other ideas to make your season greener:

  • When choosing a gift, the Department suggests choosing the most durable product you can afford. Cheaper products tend to wear out faster and must be replaced more often. By doing this you can reduce consumption of items that are thrown away or left unused around the house. If possible, look for items made with recycling content.
  • If you are buying an electronic gift for someone, give rechargeable batteries along with a battery charger. Recycling used batteries is important to reducing the potential for contamination in landfills. Electronic retailers, such as Walmart, Best Buy, Staples and RadioShack will accept batteries to recycle.
  • In addition to buying green gifts, there are also several wrapping alternatives that can cut down on waste found in the home. Gift givers can reuse boxes, bows and wrapping paper that can be saved each year. Tissue paper is difficult to recycle, so use strips of shopping bags, used wrapping paper or old lace to fill gift bags. 
  • Make unique bows by cutting up leftover shopping bags and purchase fabric gift wraps that can be used over again. When needed, look for cards and wrapping paper that are made from recycled material that can be recycled again. Avoid metallic or foil paper, as these are not recyclable or reusable.
  • An alternative to wrapping paper could be to wrap items in containers that pique the interest of the recipient. Wrapping presents in a tool box for a handy man, using fabric for a person interested in sewing, or even wrapping a present in a kitchen towel for the chef can be great alternatives to using wrapping paper.

Green gifting this holiday can help cut down on waste that accumulates over the holiday season. Using these suggestions and purchasing gifts that require little packaging, such as a Florida State Park Annual Pass, can help build a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

*Annual Passes valid at all state parks except Skyway Fishing Pier State Park where valid for a 33 percent discount

For all the details on the annual state park passes, click here.  For more information on Florida state parks, click here.