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State Lands History Highlights

Spanish explorers first arrived at San Marcos de Apalache in 1528. Today, it is a state park.


In 1855, the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund was created as an agency of the Florida government. In 1841, the U.S. government had granted each state in the union 500,000 acres. Combined with the land received as a result of the Swamp and Overflowed Lands Act of 1850, the Trustees had more than 21 million acres under its control. Since then, Florida has worked to protect and conserve natural resources. 

History of Florida's Conservation Efforts: Preservation 2000 and Florida Forever

Florida is one of the few states in the eastern United States with large natural areas remaining. The draining of the Everglades in the 1930s began an era of rampant growth in Florida. Since the 1950s, Florida’s population has risen at an annual rate of approximately four percent. In the last 50 years, more than eight million acres of forest and wetland habitats (about 24 percent of the state) have been developed. more

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    Last updated: April 06, 2015