Torreya State Park clearing

Florida state parks are more important and more endangered than ever

Tallahassee Democrat – Wednesday letters
4:30 p.m. EDT September 15, 2015
“Few people appreciate how important — and how threatened — public parks really are.

“There are recurring moves to use park lands for roads, interstate highways, power line easements, airports, drainage projects, reservoirs, pipelines, logging, grazing, radar installations, strip mining, college campuses, prison sites, water towers, and other structures.

“Parks are threatened by pollution, runoff from cities and farms, litter, dumping, arson and vandalism. There are recurring attempts to convert rare nature parks into hunting preserves or commercial forests.

“Lovers of parks cannot depend entirely on the Legislature and state agencies to protect the parks. Indeed, some of the major threats to parks each year come from these sources.”

I wrote the preceding passage in 1980, in my book, “Florida Parks: A Guide to Camping In Nature” (out of print since 2002), and it has never been more true than today, when Florida’s state parks are being threatened by plans to introduce hunting, timbering and grazing into areas long preserved for public recreation.

Florida has one of the finest park systems in the country. It’s worth far more than it costs. It has been managed well. Please leave it alone.

GERALD GROW

Tallahassee