A Message From Our Director

Hurricane Michael Recovery
Oct 09, 2018

Over the last week, like many in the Panhandle, the Florida Park Service has been busy recovering from the immense damage caused by Hurricane Michael.

We have seen an amazing response from the community and our park staff statewide. I would like to share a moving message from our Panhandle Parks Chief Warren Poplin.  He talks about how he is impressed with his staff and staff from other parks who came over to help reopened storm-damaged parks. 

I know that many of our park service family are curious to the status of us here in District 1.   We have several staff that have suffered impacts from the storm.  The damage ranges from total loss, to limbs on roofs.  The devastation is surreal when observed in person, photos do not capture the full spectrum of the destruction.  Some of our staff reside in Lynn Haven, Panama City, Port St. Joe, Apalachicola, Marianna, Sneads, Bristol, and all points in between. Some lived in the parks and others nearby. 

I am so impressed by our community and park service family. I am proud to be part of the Florida Park Service and to work with the such dedicated, compassionate people.  Staff from surrounding parks and locations have stepped up by providing assistance on tarping, laying shingles, removing trees and limbs from roofs.  The support from the other districts is nothing less than amazing.  The strike team members have volunteered to be away from their families, comforts of home, and familiar surroundings to be displaced, some without A/C or the ability to shower.  The work that they are doing is extremely difficult, and they are putting in many hours.  Their effort to help us get our parks back open is nothing less than amazing.  They will be coming home with many stories of the work they have done and the devastation they have observed.  

Those of us that live in the affected areas have learned how dependent we have become on fresh water, electricity, A/C, and communications.  Services are slowly coming back.

Thank you all for thinking of us, we are looking forward to rebuilding and opening our parks for our visitors.   

~ Warren Poplin

Thanks to our staff's hard work, many of the affected parks have already reopened.  In the coming days, we will continue to post specific ways you can help.    Visit, volunteer, support a park “Friends” organization, the Florida State Parks Foundation or Florida Park Ranger Association.  

Eric Draper's Signature

Eric Draper, Director

See Recovery Efforts