Kayak Amelia – one of the many businesses that benefit from parks

Recently, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced that 53 parks were being proposed for closure.  The news created quite a stir among concerned citizens throughout the state.

On Friday, Governor Scott tried to quell those concerns by vowing to keep state parks open.   That is certainly a good thing, especially considering how important parks are to our quality of life, environment, and our economy. According to a 2008 economic study, state parks offer a good return on investment for our state economy.  The analysis found that for every 1,000 people attending a state park, the total direct impact to the local community is more than $43,400.

The 53 parks proposed for closure had close to 1.1 million visitors during the last budget year.  Based on the findings of the 2008 analysis, these parks potentially contribute over $48 million to local economies on an annual basis.  Yet, closing them would have only saved the state about $6.5 million in operating expenses.   The bottom line is that parks provide jobs, support tourism, enhance recreational opportunities, and significantly benefit our rivers and our environment.