Staff Spotlight, Nels Parson

Park Attendant Nels Parson.

Park Attendant, Nels Parson

Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Nels Parson is a fourth-generation Floridian whose love of the outdoors comes from growing up on a ranch and roaming the woods and creeks of Central Florida. He has a degree in park technology with an emphasis on managing natural areas with public use. Nels retired in 2019 after four decades that included military service in the U.S. Air Force and service in the Florida Park Service and St. Johns River Water Management District.

During his years with the water management district, he served as the public recreation land manager. In this role, he worked with staff to develop their public use program in over 40 conservation areas with nearly 500,000 acres in an 18-county area of Florida. Nels helped with developing over 300 miles of marked trail systems, trailheads, primitive campsites and numerous recreational facilities. He has served on the Florida Greenways and Trails Advisory Council and was the 2007 and 2016 recipient of the Friend of the Florida Trail Land Manager Award from the Florida Trail Association.

Nels knows the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail, along with Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, are very special places to work. He is grateful to be working for the Florida Park Service and to be back on the trail.

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