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Author Topic: 53 potential state park closures including San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Pa  (Read 1358 times)

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Offline jnsnbch

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Just a little FYI

State may close parks to keep budget in checkSarasota Herald Tribune01/31/11   
Last fall, every state agency received instructions to prepare a 15 percent reduction to its operating budget. As part of its cost-cutting plan, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection proposed the temporary closure of 53 parks.In Alachua County, the list includes Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, Dudley Farm Historic State Park in Newberry and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in Cross Creek.Cedar Key State Museum State Park and Wacasassa Bay Preserve State Park in Cedar Key and Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park in Baker County also face the possibility of closing.Itremains to be seen if the temporary closures will be included in Gov. Rick Scott's recommended budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year, when the state is expected to face $3.6 billion in cuts.Information the DEP submitted to a Florida House budgeting subcommittee projects the closings would save nearly $6.5 million and eliminate 22 full-time-equivalent positions while reducing park revenue by $911,179 and annual park visitation by 1,099,650.The 53 locations eyed for temporary closure were the "day use only" sites -- parks in the system with the lowest annual attendance. Each had fewer than 60,000 visitors per year, according to the DEP information."These parks were chosen based on their visitation numbers during fiscal year 2009-2010," DEP spokeswoman Kristin Lock wrote in an e-mail. "They reflect the parks with the lowest visitation that do not offer camping or other overnight accommodations."She wrote that state officials would not, at this time, elaborate on how long a temporary closure would last because the "proposed closures are still just that, proposed.""Therefore, we cannot and will not speculate on hypothetical impacts or implementation details," Lock wrote.The talk of closures stirred up some opposition Friday.Terry Munn, past president of the Friends of San Felasco, said that park's revenues now exceed its operating expenses. That comparison, however, does not include salary figures."It's amazing to me that they make more money than they spend and they still want to close the park," Munn said.He said the opening of bike trails and horse trails boosted the park's attendance and a bike tour on a recent weekend drew a crowd of more than 500.Cedar Key Mayor Pat O'Neal expects residents and the business community will mobilize to fight the potential closings. He said the historic museum, which the state has considered closing before, was a major tourist draw for Cedar Key and the Wacasassa preserve was important for the protection of the coastline.Alachua Conservation Trust Executive Director Robert Hutchinson said this was the third time in recent years the DEP has proposed closing parks to cut the budget."We call this the perennial threat," he said.Hutchinson believes the savings that could be realized are less significant than the public show of willingness to cut costs."A lot of these parks operate on a break-even basis but they are a visible thing that says 'we are serious about budget cuts,'" Hutchinson said.State Rep. Keith Perry R-Gainesville, said at first blush, proposed park closings appear to be "Draconian" cuts. Still, Perry added the reality is that state agencies "across the board" face substantial budget reductions. He said it would be premature to make a final judgment without hearing more details from the DEP and seeing if Scott includes the closures in his budget proposal.

Offline Darrinw2001

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Here we go again! The current budget cuts proposed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection call for eliminating the Office of Greenways and Trails and closing 53 state parks, including the San Felasco State Preserve (Home of the Tour de Felasco), and Big Shoals in White Springs (Home of the Ididaride).

A complete list can be found here:

The proposed budget in the House can be viewed by going to, click on Committees, click on Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, then click on the Meeting Packets link on the right, then download the .pdf for the January 26, 2011 meeting. Items 50 and 52 on page 40 give the details.

A similar bill is in committee in the Senate.

Call your legislators NOW!!
Email the chairs of the committees. The chair of the House Committee is Trudi Williams and the chair of the Senate Committee is Alan Hays.
Representative Williams email address is:
Senator Hays' email address is:

The rest of the members of the House committee are as follows:

Senate General Government Appropriations Committee member information is as follows:
Chair: Senator D. Alan Hays
Vice Chair: Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto
Senator Larcenia J. Bullard
Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla
Senator Anthony C. "Tony" Hill, Sr.
Senator Dennis L. Jones, D.C.
Senator Jack Latvala

Please email or call the Chairs first, then move on to the other committee members as you have time.

Below are some important statistics you can use in your correspondence.

With an estimated $3.5Billion budget shortfall this fiscal year, now more than ever, we need our voices heard! The new Governor has stressed that economic development and tourism are two of his top priorities, and visitors to State Parks and Greenways are great examples of tourists spending money!

Do your part to help preserve some of the best trails in the State of Florida!

For the trails,
Rob Ern, VP

Offline ProEdgeBiker

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This is unreal!

Offline firebiker

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This isn't good. First I read about my pension possibly being cut and now this.
My bike is more than a toy; it's my vessel.

Offline jnsnbch

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possibly, you mean definately to some degree. I am in the same boat. Everyone needs to spend thirty minutes sending out emails to their senators and representatives or soon enough we can all become road riders on mountain bikes

Offline Clay

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Hey All,

I wanted to thank OMBA Rob for taking the time to brign this to our attention and personally ask that everyone take just a few minutes to address the situation.

I've attached my email that is being sent to all contacts via Rob's email. Let's use this forum to share these concerns & help each other save was is dear to all of us. Please feel free to copy this email, share ideas, and communicate the importance of this issue!!!!

Cheers Clay

[/size]Dear Representative Williams & Senator Hays,

I write this email to you today with great concern over the possibility of the budget proposals that would eliminate the Office of Greenway of Trails (OGT) and close 53 state parks.

As a life long Florida native, a passionate cyclist and mountain biker, and a local FL employee
http://www.amclassic.comwho’s livelihood is greatly dependant on state parks and organizations such as the OGT. Such a proposal could result in devastating consequences for our state, local business, communities, & FL economy.

Such a proposal makes it very hard for the everyday citizen to believe and support our local government, when we have just been told by our own Governor that economic development and tourism are two of his top priorities. With visitors to State Parks and Greenways being great examples of how tourists spend money, this conflict of interests is very concerning!

I ask that you please read the attachment which overviews how imperative the OGT and our State Parks have become. The elimination of these two mediums is just the beginning of many concerns that will shortly follow. Where will you have clubs like the Ocala Mountain Bike Association (OMBA) now volunteer their time and ride their bicycles? What will you tell local bike shops such as Greenway Bicycles, when the backbone of their business is taken away from them? How do I explain to my children and the future leaders of our State that the one thing I cherished most, is no longer an option for them to experience.

I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the country and see the positive influences that our National & State Parks can bring to all walks of life. I ask that you please think twice of this proposal and personally visit or attend these mediums that this proposal seeks to eliminate before making your decision. I promise that you will quickly see how beautiful, imperative, and essential these state lands are to all citizens of FL.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is any way I can personally discuss the severity of this situation.


Clayton Bramlett
Customer Service Supervisor
& Inside Sales
American Classic
813.885.9040 M-F 10am to 6pm EST[/size]