Thursday, February 3, 2011

Three Rivers State Park once again targeted for Closure!

Three Rivers State Park
For the second time in three years, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed closing Jackson County's Three Rivers State Park. The move would save the state $200,000 but cost the economy of the Sneads area more than $1,000,000.

To save $6.5 million out of its $1.4 BILLION budget, DEP is recommending the closure of ONE-THIRD of Florida's State Parks and Historic Sites. These include both the Olustee and Natural Bridge Battlefields, the only preserved Civil War battlefields in Florida; the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Home, where the famed author wrote The Yearling; San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, which preserves the ruins of a 300 year old Spanish fort; three parks that preserve ancient Indian mounds; the site of America's oldest free African American settlement; the site of the Dade Massacre which ignited the Second Seminole War, historic homes, museums and more.

Among three parks that DEP recommends closing permanently and returning to their landowners is Three Rivers State Park. Located on State Road 271 (River Road) on the northern edge of Sneads, the beautiful park covers hundreds of acres of waterfront land on the shores of Lake Seminole and features fishing, camping, hiking trails, picnic areas, boat ramps and a beautiful natural setting. It is on the Great Florida Birding Trail and is the scene of a very nice annual Christmas Lighting Display. 

Three Rivers operates at a cost of only around $200,000 a year, but according to DEP's own studies, generates more than $1,000,000 for the local economy. Such an economic loss could be devastating for Sneads and eastern Jackson County, especially with the nation in the midst of a recession. Please click here to read more about the park.

The proposal is currently before the Florida House of Representative's Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, which is scheduled to meet again on February 9th. To voice your opinion to the subcommittee members, please visit this link and simply click on their individual names: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/sections/committees/committeesdetail.aspx?SessionId=66&CommitteeId=2597

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