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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2010
CONTACT: DEP Press Office, (850) 245-2112

This Holiday Season, Give Gifts of Nature

~Holiday gift ideas that will get you out of the house and into Florida’s 160 state parks~

TALLAHASSEE – With gift-giving holidays upon us and last-minute-gift panic mode setting in, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is encouraging Floridians and visitors to stray from ordinary gifts and give the green gift of nature instead. Bring holiday joy to loved ones and allow them to experience Florida’s natural environment by giving a Florida State Parks Annual Entrance Pass and Passport; planning a camping adventure in a state park cabin or campsite; or finding a one-of-a-kind gift at one of the many gift shops at a Florida state park.

“These nature-based gift ideas offer exciting affordable alternatives to the ordinary holiday gift options and are sure to catch anyone by surprise,” said DEP’s Florida State Parks Director Donald Forgione. “Gifts such as year-long entry into Florida’s beautiful state parks, an overnight stay immersed in nature’s wonders or a Florida souvenir remind us that inexpensive yet meaningful gestures create unforgettable and lasting memories.”

Give a year of endless adventures with a Florida State Parks Annual Entrance Pass, which grants entry to the 160 parks spanning 700,000 acres and 100 miles of sandy white beach all year long. A great addition is the Florida State Parks Passport, a journal for outdoor enthusiasts to plan park visits, record special experiences and collect each park's individual stamp. From swimming in Florida’s rivers and springs to birding and fishing or hiking and riding on natural scenic trails, Florida’s state parks are perfect destinations for everyone. The Florida State Parks Annual Entrance Pass can be purchased for a family ($120) or for an individual ($60) and the Florida State Park Passport is a great addition to track park experiences for only $9.95.

Capture the heart of outdoors enthusiasts and travel lovers by booking a stay in a cabin or campsite at a Florida State Park. Gather a group for a fun outdoor camping trip, take a loved one on a relaxing reprieve with nature, or surprise a couple with an already-booked-and-ready-to-go romantic getaway. Absorb the beauty and bliss of nature with a choice in a variety of settings near beaches, rivers, lakes and wooded communities and engage in endless outdoor activities. Reservations for full-facility campgrounds and cabins may be made up to 11 months in advance by calling ReserveAmerica at (800) 326-3521 or TDD (888) 433-0287 or online at www.ReserveAmerica.com.

Bring Florida to family and friends no matter where they are with a souvenir from a Florida state park gift shop. The Craft Square and Gift Shop at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park is the place to visit for the most unique and beautiful holiday gifts this season, including a large selection of handmade, vibrant holiday ornaments and decorations made by local artists and craftspeople. The gift shop at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park offers creative paintings for art enthusiasts and the Manatee Gift Shop at Blue Spring State Park features manatee merchandise for animal lovers. The Myakka Outpost at Myakka River State Park sells t-shirts, hats and delicious not-to-be-missed foods such as gator stew. The jam-packed-with-goodies State Park Gift Shop at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is another good spot to find the perfect holiday gift.

About Florida State Parks
Created in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, Florida State Parks has grown from eight to 160 parks over the last 75 years. Today, the Florida Park Service manages more than 700,000 acres of Florida’s natural environment, including 100 miles of beaches, eight National Historic Landmarks and 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Florida State Parks has been recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association as the nation’s first and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the nation’s best park service. For more information about Florida’s state parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org

Spoonbills in flight

"These nature-based gift ideas offer exciting affordable alternatives to the ordinary holiday gift options and are sure to catch anyone by surprise."

Donald Forgione
DEP’s Florida Park Service Director

10–184

Last updated: December 10, 2010

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