About Florida State Parks and Trails
Florida's 171 award-winning state park and trail properties have inspired residents and visitors with recreation opportunities and scenic beauty that helps to strengthen families, educate children, expand local economies and foster community pride. With 161 parks, 10 state trails, nearly 800,000 acres, 100 miles of beaches and more than 1,600 miles of multi-use trails attracting nearing 25 million visitors a year, visit soon and often to enjoy Florida's natural treasures. Learn more about the system of state parks and state trails and their economic impact on Florida here. For details not listed, please contact the Florida Park Service Director's office at (850) 245-3029.
FISCAL YEAR 2011-2012(July 1 - June 30)
|Parks and Trails||171|
|Historic Sites, Archaeological Sites and Museums||30|
|Citizen Support Organizations||84|
|Economic Impact||$1.16 Billion|
|Miles of Sandy Beaches||100|
|Miles of Trails||1,600|
|Largest State Park:||Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park (77,574 acres)|
|Smallest State Park:||Fernandina Plaza Historic State Park (0.80 acres)|
|Oldest State Park:||Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park (dedicated in 1899)|
|Newest State Park:||Weeki Wachee Springs State Park (acquired in 2008)|
|Most Visited State Park:||Honeymoon Island State Park (1,089,588 visitors)|
|Most Visited State Trail:||Honeymoon Island State Park (1,702,037 visitors)|
STATE PARK ATTENDANCE AND ECONOMIC IMPACT*
Nearly 25 million people visited state park and trail properties in fiscal 2011, according to attendance figures compiled by the Department of Environmental Protection's Florida Park Service. State parks received about 700,000 more visitors in the last year than in the previous year, totaling more than 21.1 million visitors. Additionally, more than 3.8 million people visited state trails, which are now part of the Florida Park Service.
The top-visited state trail was the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail with 1,702,037 visitors. Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin welcomed more visitors than any other state park in Florida for the sixth year in a row with 1,089,588 visitors. Rounding out the top 10 visited state parks are:
- Gasparilla Island State Park, Boca Grande - 872,917 visitors.
- St. Andrews State Park, Panama City Beach - 860,657 visitors.
- Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach - 812,864 visitors.
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo - 725,619 visitors.
- Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine - 631,716 visitors.
- Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne - 614,282 visitors.
- Sebastian Inlet State Park, Melbourne Beach - 594,188 visitors.
- Stump Pass Beach State Park, Englewood - 588,300 visitors.
- Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key - 557,785 visitors.
In fiscal 2011, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Florida Park Service had an overall direct economic impact of $1.16 billion on local economies throughout the state. Direct economic impact is defined as the amount of new dollars spent in the local economy by non-local park visitors and by park operations funds spent in the local economy. Over $75 million was contributed to general revenues in the form of state sales taxes. In addition, 23,312 jobs were supported as a result of the state park system operations. For every 1,000 persons visiting a state park or trail, the total direct impact on the local community is almost $47,000.
The state trail with the greatest economic impact was the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail with more than $74.3 million. The state park with the greatest economic impact was Honeymoon Island State Park with more than $48.3 million. The economic impacts of these parks and trails are due to their location and level of development, leading to high attendance and park expenditure levels. Those parks and trails which are fully developed and can sustain high attendance have the largest direct economic impact on the local economy.
*Economic impact is calculated as the amount of new dollars spent in the local economy by non-local park visitors and park operations. The Florida Park Service uses the Money Generation Model designed for and used by the National Park Service to assess economic impact in the local area around a park.
FLORIDA'S GREENWAYS AND TRAILS
The Office of Greenways & Trails within the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Recreation and Parks, provides leadership and coordination to establish and expand the Florida Greenways and Trails System. To fulfill its mission under the Florida Greenways and Trails Act (Chapter 260, F. S), the office:
- Implements the Florida Greenways and Trails System (FGTS) Plan to establish priorities and define the role of the FGTS in advancing Florida's economy, tourism, health, alternative transportation, recreation, conservation and quality of life. The office oversees the priority and opportunity maps that define the FGTS, and works in partnership with communities, agencies and organizations to close gaps in the system. The office expands the FGTS through the acquisition of eligible projects under the Greenways and Trails portion of Florida Forever, and has partnerships with nearly 30 communities that develop and manage state acquired greenways and trails on behalf of the office.
- Supports communities and projects by coordinating with and providing technical assistance regarding the acquisition, development, designation and management of greenways and trails projects that fulfill the FGTS plan and vision. The office also administers the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), a federally funded competitive grant program that provides financial assistance to local communities for the development of trails. Since inception, RTP has assisted communities in well over 40 Florida counties to establish and expand trails.
- Serves the public by disseminating information about the many benefits that greenways and trails provide to Florida residents and visitors. The office provides information to residents and visitors about greenways and trails recreational opportunities through publications, e-newsletters, FloridaGreenwaysAndTrails.com and VisitFlorida.com/trails.
Functions and responsibilities at a glance…
- Implement the Plan for the Florida Greenways and Trails System (FGTS).
- Evaluate and prioritize greenways and trails corridors in the FGTS.
- Provide statewide coordination of the FGTS through planning and community assistance.
- Facilitate and provide support to FGTS priority and opportunity projects.
- Facilitate the FGTS through representation on various boards, committees and councils.
- Serve as staff to the Florida Greenways and Trails Council.
- Administer the federal Recreational Trails Program.
- Administer the Florida Greenways and Trails Designation Program.
- Administer the Florida Greenways and Trails Acquisition Program.
- Publicize and promote greenways and trails and the FGTS.
Why the Florida Greenways and Trails System?
Trails and greenways fuel our future by…
- Attracting Tourists.
- Improving Quality of Life.
- Increasing Property Values.
- Stimulating Business Development.
- Providing Healthy Recreation.
- Providing Alternative Transportation.
- In downtown Dunedin, private business occupancy rates increased from 30% to 95% following the establishment of the Pinellas Trail, described as an "economic engine" by Bob Ironsmith, the community's economic development director.
- Three Orange County trails were estimated to support $42 million of economic impact and 516 jobs (East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, 2010).
- Trails consistently remain the number one community amenity sought by prospective homeowners (National Association of Homebuilders, 2008).
- The repeated annual economic impact of cyclists was estimated to be nine times the one-time cost to build bicycle facilities (North Carolina DOT, 2004).
- Every $1 million spent on the construction of off-street multi-use trails yields 9.6 jobs (University of Massachusetts, 2011).
- Business owners along the Great Allegheny Passage Trail in Pennsylvania and Maryland attribute 25% of revenues to their proximity to the Trail (Trail Town Economic Study, 2008).