We are fortunate to have a number of national parks and seashores in Florida including the Everglades, Biscayne National Park, Canaveral National Seashore and Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Few states have as many as Florida.
The national parks are this nation’s highest quality natural areas just as our state parks are Florida’s highest quality natural treasures.
In the 1970s and 80s, the Florida Park Service emulated the management philosophies of the national park service as we created policies to protect our rapidly increasing state parks.
The national parks are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year.
This is also the 100th anniversary of the creation of Florida’s first state park.
Its creation was not accomplished by a government agency or a corporation.
It was created by women who didn’t yet have the right to vote.
The sensitive management policies and traditions adopted from the national parks have served us well.
Fran Mainella, a former Florida state parks director, was also the director of the National Park Service for six years.
We are most fortunate to have longstanding, sensitive management of our state parks by career park rangers and biologists.
We must be alert for threats that would degrade these Florida treasures.
Most state and national parks were founded through the work of citizen activists who fought for their creation.
It will take the dedication and work of citizens to protect them for the future.
We should remember the advice of President Theodore Roosevelt:
“Keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you.”
Jim A. Stevenson,
Chief Naturalist 1969-1989,
Florida state parks,