Florida State Park Impacts
Florida has the ONLY state park system in the entire nation thrice awarded the Gold Medal of Excellence by its national peer group. Florida’s state park systems comprised of 171 state parks and trails on 788,982 acres. In FY 2013, more than 25 million visitors were served, parks earned nearly $52.5 million, and a record 1,356,425 volunteer hours were contributed. Florida’s state park system exists to set aside and preserve exceptional resource areas, to promote a healthy society by providing satisfying outdoor recreation opportunities, and to contribute to the state’s economic well being by providing parks for Florida’s citizens and visitors and their leisure related expenditures.
WHY ARE PARKS IMPORTANT TO FLORIDA’S ECONOMIC HEALTH?
In FY 2013, state parks had an economic impact of over $1,174,848,582 on local economies throughout Florida.$75,771,234 was contributed to the state’s general revenues in the form of state sales taxes. More than,500 jobs were created in local economies as a result of state park operations. In many rural counties throughout the state, the state park is one of the most important attractions drawing visitors to the county and supporting small businesses that depend on tourism for survival.
HOW ARE STATE PARKS SUPPORTED THROUGH THE STATE BUDGET?
Florida state parks receive NO general revenue funds and they raise 64% of their operating costs through entry and camping fees, concessionaire income sharing and other partnerships. State parks have become more self-sufficient in generating the funds required to operate and aim to make the system as a whole completely self-supporting within the next few years, recognizing that not every park has the potential of being self-sufficient. Meeting this goal requires new ways of increasing park revenues through innovation and partnerships, as well as reducing operating costs while staying true to the balanced program of outdoor recreation and resource protection. These dual missions have been the basis for the success of Florida’s state parks program since its inception. Support of our award-winning state parks will help insure their continued role in creating jobs and contributing to a healthy state economy.