DEP Names Chuck Hatcher Director of Division of Recreation and Parks

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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850-245-2112,  

DEP Names Chuck Hatcher Director of Division of Recreation and Parks  

~ Veteran park professional will lead Florida’s award-winning state parks ~ 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton today announced Chuck Hatcher as the new director for the agency’s Division of Recreation and Parks (DRP).  

In this role, Hatcher will oversee the management of the award-winning Florida State Parks system. Hatcher has twice served as acting director (2017 and 2021-present) and has held leadership positions in DRP since 2016. 

“Chuck has been an integral member of the DEP team and we are thrilled to welcome him as the new director of Florida State Parks,” Hamilton said. “Our state parks are already the best in the nation, and his leadership will take them to even greater heights.” 

Hatcher joined DEP in 2016 as the assistant director of field operations for Florida State Parks 

Since then, Florida State Parks has become the nation’s first four-time winner of the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management and has reached milestones in attendance, revenue and resource management. 

Upon taking over as acting director in November 2021, Hatcher immediately guided Florida State Parks in opening two new properties in the Florida Panhandle – William J. “Billy Joe” Rish Recreation Area and the Bluffs of St. Teresa. 

As a native of Marianna, Florida, who has seen the devastation of storm impacts on his beloved community, Chuck has continued to champion major progress on hurricanes Michael and Irma recovery projects, including:  

“To serve as the director of Florida State Parks is the honor of a lifetime,” Hatcher said. “Florida’s state parks, trails and historic sites are made up of amazing natural and cultural resources, as well as amazing people. I am grateful to Secretary Hamilton for trusting me to lead this team.” 

Before joining DEP, Hatcher served for several years as the director of the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department. He received the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Leadership Award in 2009 and was recognized as the county’s Conservationist Farmer of the Year in 2017.