Donald V. Forgione, Director
Florida Park Service
Welcome from the Director
It's springtime in Florida State Parks! Let's take our cues from
nature, get outdoors and enjoy this time of renewal and rejuvenation.
The Florida Park Service recently launched a PocketRanger ®
mobile app for iPhones and Androids. This interactive, on-the-go guide
allows visitors to plan their next adventure in state parks. It features
photos, maps, park information, activity and location search tools and
more. Spring is the perfect time to use the app to find and visit your
new favorite state park.
Spring also signals a time for us to
begin spring cleaning. State Parks do their "Spring Cleaning" in the
form of prescribed burning. This resource management activity mimics
natural fires that keep our environment healthy. Prescribed fires,
carefully set by trained land managers, prevent wildfires and help our
woodland plant and animal habitats by re-creating necessary and natural
fire patterns. Visit state parks this spring to see thousands of native
flowers and wildlife in their natural habitats.
state parks this spring, keep your eyes open for baby critters such as
turtles and chicks of all species. It's nesting season in our coastal
parks. Visitors can see more than 200 species of birds and their chicks
at Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island and Anclote Key Preserve State
Parks in Pinellas County. Enjoy spring weather and gorgeous coastal
views at the new restaurant at Sebastian Inlet State Park in Melbourne
Beach. Look out for wildlife from the decks of the Inlet Grill and
Gifts. Visitors have a chance to view more than 180 species of birds
during the course of a year at this park.
Spring breakers can
find many great escapes in Florida's state parks. With more than 100
miles of sandy beaches, our 41 beach parks offer recreational activities
for everyone to enjoy. For a different way to experience Florida's
beautiful beaches, try horseback riding on the beach at Amelia Island
State Park in Jacksonville. Visit Florida's southernmost state park,
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West, for many recreation
opportunities and to learn about U.S. military history. White sand
beaches and rolling dunes covered with sea oats make Perdido Key State
Park in Pensacola a favorite destination for swimmers and sunbathers.
On April 22, join our 171 state parks and trails as we
celebrate Earth Day. From beaches to forests, springs to swamps, the
state park system's nearly 800,000 acres of preserved Florida is
something everyone should experience. Many state parks also welcome the
spring season with festivals and events that are always fun for the
whole family. Check out our app or FloridaStateParks.org for details.
No matter what you like to do, Florida's State Parks have
something for everyone. On behalf of the entire Florida Park Service, I
invite all Floridians to go outside, have fun and learn about our
precious environment this spring.
Director, Florida Park Service, Florida Department of
Donald V. Forgione is the director of the Florida Park Service which manages Florida's award-winning state parks and trails encompassing more than 800,000 acres and attracting more than 24 million visitors every year. Donald began his career with the Florida Park Service in 1983 as a Park Ranger and has held many positions at state parks across Florida including Law Enforcement Ranger, Assistant Park Manager, Park Manager, Assistant District Manager and District Manager. He also has held several positions including Environmental Land Manager for the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. Donald was appointed Florida Park Service Director in 2010. He is the president of the Association of Southeastern State Parks Directors and is the recipient of the prestigious Florida Park Service Interpreter of the Year Award. Donald lives in Tallahassee with his wife Rosie and enjoys visiting Florida’s state parks with his four grandchildren.