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Donald V. Forgione, Director, Florida Park Service

A Message from the Director

Enjoy National Park and Recreation Month at a State Park Near You
By Donald V. Forgione, Director of the Florida Park Service

As the first day of summer, June 21 marks the beginning of a season when residents and visitors can enjoy Florida's famous sunshine. July is celebrated as National Park and Recreation Month. It's a time to enjoy our natural treasures.

During the summertime, people are naturally drawn to our waters for recreation and fun with family and friends. Whether we spend our time splashing in the surf, building sand castles at the beach, snorkeling in our freshwater springs, canoeing or kayaking on the rivers or sitting under a shade tree by the lake, I encourage everyone to think safety first.

To begin with, please use sunscreen and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Always keep watchful eyes on loved ones swimming in our waters. Learn about Florida's system of warning flags that help beach goers and swimmers judge surf conditions. If you are boating or canoeing, wear your lifejacket or other personal floatation device. Everyone can have an enjoyable experience as long as we stay safe.

Fishing is another fun activity. Children always enjoy learning how bait the hook, cast their line and reel in the catch. As always, think safety first with sharp hooks, insects and time spent in the sun.

If you are looking for a place for outdoor fun this summer, check out our website for the closest state park or state trail. You can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or share photos on Pinterest. Our handle is @flstateparks. If you like your information on the go, download our new mobile app by PocketRanger ® for iPhones and Androids.

See you at the park!



Donald V. Forgione is the director of the Florida Park Service which manages Florida's award-winning state parks and trails encompassing more than 800,000 acres and attracting more than 24 million visitors every year. Donald began his career with the Florida Park Service in 1983 as a Park Ranger and has held many positions at state parks across Florida including Law Enforcement Ranger, Assistant Park Manager, Park Manager, Assistant District Manager and District Manager. He also has held several positions including Environmental Land Manager for the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. Donald was appointed Florida Park Service Director in 2010. He is the president of the Association of Southeastern State Parks Directors and is the recipient of the prestigious Florida Park Service Interpreter of the Year Award. Donald lives in Tallahassee with his wife Rosie and enjoys visiting Florida's state parks with his four grandchildren.