Only two weeks after proposing the closure of 53 state parks in order to trim nearly $47 million off the state budget, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has announced that the parks are safe.
In an interview with the St. Augustine Record, state Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, attributed Gov. Scott’s decision to keep the parks open to concerned citizens who made countless complaints about the potential closures:
“The people rose up and fought for the parks…And, because of that, the governor’s office has called off the plans to close the state parks….We were able to make an argument that, by keeping parks like Fort Mose open, we are increasing transportation and economic development by increasing tourism and bringing people to these historic places.”
In an entry on its blog, Audubon of Florida promises to continue working with advocates to build support for the parks on the closure list, but worries that the threat is not yet over:
Governor Scott has called for massive unspecified cuts to environmental agencies. Cuts to DEP and other land management agencies will affect public lands. Not only parks – state forests, wildlife management areas and water management district lands are all at risk. What you can do to help build support for Florida’s parks and other special places: Visit your local parks and other public lands, pay the entrance fee, network with local businesses that market to the park and other public land visitors.