Message from Our Director

Chuck Hatcher

One of the things I enjoy about December is spending time with family.

With the cooler temperatures, it’s a good time to enjoy Florida’s natural treasures by getting outside and taking a walk at a state park.

Some parks offer special events and ranger-guided activities. Bring your binoculars if you enjoy birding. Many migratory species can be seen and heard at our parks this time of year.

If your winter traditions include giving gifts to family and friends, I’d like to suggest an annual entrance pass to Florida’s state parks. Individual and family passes are available and allow the card holder to visit parks all year long.

On Sunday, Dec. 25, many businesses will be closed for Christmas. Most of Florida’s state parks will be open their regular hours, 8 a.m. to sunset. After your festivities or when you need to entertain your visitors or children, head to your local state park for a hike, bicycle ride or to soak up the sun. It’s a great place to play outdoors.

Another thing that I really enjoy about December is taking the opportunity to reflect on the past year and make plans for the next one. My goals usually include more exercise and more fresh air. I always plan a First Day Hike on January 1. At some parks, you can join a ranger for an organized event or you can plan your own hike along a trail.

If you visit a park during the holiday season, I hope you’ll offer a smile and a hello for the staff and volunteers you meet. These remarkable people work tirelessly to provide our visitors the best experience possible throughout the year, and especially during the holidays.

Happy holidays and see you in the parks,

Chuck Hatcher