Governor Rick Scott proclaimed July as Recreation and Parks Month, observing that parks and recreation programs contribute to a healthy lifestyle, boost our economy and promote cultural diversity.
Recreation and Parks Month recognizes the importance of recreational and educational opportunities available at parks and trails, including attracting new business and increasing tourism. During the 2012-2013 fiscal year, more than 25.5 million people visited Florida’s 171 state parks and state trails. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service invites residents and visitors to enjoy Florida’s beaches, natural treasures and historic sites throughout July as a way to participate in the proclamation.
“This year, young people have the opportunity to participate in Recreation and Parks Month by becoming a Junior Ranger; where they can explore Florida’s beaches, springs and forests,” said Donald Forgione, director of the Florida Park Service. “Young people and their families can make lasting memories while enjoying beaches and springs for swimming, trails for hiking, campgrounds and cabins for overnight trips, and a variety of locations for picnicking.”
To join the Junior Ranger program, visit our website to find a nearby participating park. Junior Rangers complete six core activities to learn about natural and cultural resources, recreation, and service. The participants review their activities with a park ranger and earn a certificate, member ID card and the Official Junior Ranger Passport.
From there, Junior Rangers can complete more activities to earn stamps for their passport to receive the Official Junior Ranger badge, patch or pin. The program is open to kids of all ages, but aimed for those in elementary and middle school.
An easy way to plan a fun trip to a park this July is to download the Florida state parks mobile app, available to smartphone users for free. This interactive guide gives users access to all state parks and trails with information on park amenities, facility maps and a real-time calendar of events.
For a list of special events and ranger tours click http://www.floridastateparks.org/
About Florida State Parks, Greenways and Trails
The Florida Park Service is the proud recipient of three National Gold Medals for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, making Florida America’s first three-time Gold Medal winner. The awards were received in 1999, 2005 and 2013 from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association.
Florida’s 171 state parks and trails inspire residents and visitors with recreation opportunities and scenic beauty that help strengthen families, educate children, expand local economies and foster community pride. With 161 parks, 10 state trails, nearly 800,000 acres, 100 miles of beaches and more than 1,500 miles of multi-use trails, visit soon and often to enjoy Florida’s natural treasures. Download the Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger® mobile app, available on iTunes and Android Market, to plan your trip and enhance your experience while visiting. For more information, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org