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CONTACT: DEP Press Office (850) 245-2112

Florida is a Finalist for Nation's Best State Parks

~Florida’s 160 state parks recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association~

TALLAHASSEE - The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), recently announced the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida Park Service as finalists for the 2011 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Florida is currently the nation’s first and only two-time Gold Medal winner, receiving the award in 1999 and 2005.

“It is an honor for our 160 state parks to be considered for this prestigious award,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “Florida’s state parks serve more than 20 million visitors a year and provide countless recreational opportunities while conserving and protecting more than 700,000 acres of Florida’s natural environment.”

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Four finalists in each class are chosen to compete for grand honors each year. The Florida Park Service is a finalist along with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Division of State Parks and North Carolina State Parks and Recreation. Winners will be announced during NRPA’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Atlanta, GA, November 1-3, 2011.

To commemorate this momentous occasion Florida State Parks is hosting its first ever video contest. Through May 31, 2011 visitors are encouraged to submit a video to show why Florida's state parks are the best. Entries are eligible to win a Family Annual Entrance Pass or a copy of the Florida State Parks Passport. Video must be a minute or less and should highlight favorite park(s) and activities. Being creative and having fun are key to a successful video. For contest details visit www.floridastateparks.org/thingstodo/videocontest.cfm

About Florida State Parks Explore Florida’s abundance of wildlife, natural communities and cultural heritage at our award-winning state parks. For more than 75 years, Florida State Parks have inspired residents and visitors with recreation opportunities and scenic beauty that helps to strengthen families, educate children, expand local economies and foster community pride. With 160 parks, 700,000 acres and 100 miles of beaches, visit soon and often to enjoy Florida’s natural treasures. For more information about Florida’s state parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org

campsite at sunset

"It is an honor for our 160 state parks to be considered for this prestigious award."

Herschel T. Vinyard Jr.
DEP Secretary



Last updated: May 17, 2011

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