For Immediate Release: July 26, 2011
OF FLORIDIANS AND VISITORS ENJOY NATURAL TREASURES AT FLORIDA'S STATE PARKS
parks welcomed 300,000 more people than last year~
A sailor catches the breeze on the crystal blue waters of Florida's most
popular state park, Honeymoon Island.
TALLAHASSEE — The
Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida Park Service
today announced state park attendance increased during the 2010-2011
fiscal year. More than 20.4 million
experienced the natural and cultural treasures of Florida’s state parks during the last fiscal year, an
increase of approximately 300,000 people from the previous year.
“We are pleased to see Florida’s 160 state parks continue to
grow in popularity and are thankful for the support of Governor Scott and the
Florida Legislature. which has enabled us to keep all parks open and fully
operational despite difficult economic times,” said DEP Secretary Herschel
Vinyard. “The increase in visitors illustrates the demand for recreational and
educational experiences that are affordable, close to home and protective of Florida’s valuable
natural and cultural resources.”
Honeymoon Island State Park
in Dunedin welcomed more visitors than any other
state park in Florida
for the fifth year in a row, with more than 1.1 million visitors. Rounding out
the top ten visited state parks are:
- Gasparilla Island State
Park, Boca Grande — 823,000 visitors.
- Sebastian Inlet State
Park, Melbourne Beach — 781,000 visitors.
- St. Andrews State Park,
Panama City Beach — 770,000 visitors.
- Lover's Key State Park,
Fort Myers Beach – 754,000 visitors.
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef
State Park, Key Largo – 718,000 visitors.
- Bill Baggs Cape Florida
State Park, Key Biscayne — 714,000 visitors.
- Anastasia State Park, St.
Augustine – 548,000 visitors.
- Bahia Honda State Park,
Big Pine Key – 535,000 visitors.
- Blue Spring State Park,
Orange City – 523,000 visitors.
“I am so proud of the dedicated and hard-working staff and
volunteers that make Florida’s award-winning state parks the best in the nation,” said DEP’s
Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “The growth in visitor numbers
proves that through this dedication and the unparalleled natured-based
recreation offered, residents and visitors alike appreciate and value our state