Being actively involved in outdoor recreation in Florida for over 40 years I find the above mantra to be very true. In addition, there is a direct connection between quality of Florida’s resources and its economy, particularly with tourism. This is why proper management of our natural resources is so critical and needs immediate attention.
The Florida Outdoor Recreation Coalition is currently supporting two very important issues. First, there is the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment which will appear on the November ballot. This constitutional amendment will help to secure must needed funding not on for acquisition but for management of our public lands. Water quality, evasive species management and habitat restoration, are all programs needing immediate attention and funding.
The second issue we strongly support is the total package of the Wakulla Environmental Institute (WEI). The institute is being housed in Wakulla County which is an excellent education and training ground as it is rich in both natural and recreational resources. The programs and curricula to be offered at the WEI will not only better equip current and future land managers to be better stewards of public lands, but will also be an important conduit to train and educate thousands of volunteers who will be needed to help reverse the spiraling decline in the protection and management of our natural resources.
The WEI is also looking to develop and operate a camping complex on existing state park property as part of their training and education curricula. This concerns some but experience has shown that nothing can get built on state lands without going through an extensive review of all development plans. The review process includes public hearings, approval from Florida’s Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC), and additional reviews and permits from a bevy of local, state and even federal agencies.
In addition, the planned camping complex will allow park professionals to design and develop a state of art campground. This camping complex, with all the right green initiatives, can be used as a model for this state.
Both the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment and the Wakulla Environmental Institute need the outdoor recreation community support. These two issues are the best things on the horizon to help generate positive action on critical land management issues as well as focus on the importance of eco-tourism to the state’s economy.
John Waldron, Executive Director
- Florida Outdoor Recreation Coalition -
The newly designated Big Bend Region of the Florida Outdoor Recreation Coalition (FLORC) is schedule to have their next regional meeting in Tallahassee on Thursday, June 12, 2014 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. The meeting will be on the campus of Tallahassee Community College, located on 444 Appleyard Drive in Tallahassee. We are tentatively set to meet at the Administration building on campus.
The following are topics that we will be discussing at this meeting:
•Organizational structure for the newly designed FLORC steering committee
•Visit Tallahassee website as a model for local outdoor recreation businesses, providers and activities
•SCORP as the basic plan for outdoor recreation funding via new Florida Water & Land Conservation Amendment
•2014 Outdoor Recreation Summit– Land, Water and Outdoor Recreation (This year’s Summit and FNST Symposium will be in Crawfordville with the assistance of the new Wakulla Environmental Institute).
•Review of 2014 legislative issues affecting outdoor recreation
•Update on Big Bend Outdoor Recreational issues
We look forward to an informative and energetic meeting!