Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Civil War and Seminole War Battlefields on the Chopping Block in Florida

Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is considering locking the gates to dozens of key historic sites in the Sunshine State. Included among these are both of Florida's state-owned Civil War battlefields (Olustee and Natural bridge), the Dade Battlefield site where the Second Seminole War ignited, historic forts and more. 

The DEP says that closing 53 state parks would save the agency $6.5 million. The number, however, is but a small fraction of the economic impact of the tourism dollars generated by visitors to the parks. Olustee, for example, is the focus of a major annual festival that attracts tens of thousands of people to the Lake City area. The loss of the park would cost the community millions of dollars.

Natural Bridge Battlefield
Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park was the site of the last significant Confederate victory of the Civil War. The Battle of Natural Bridge not only preserved Tallahassee's status as the only Southern capital east of the Mississippi not taken by Union forces during the war, it saved a large area of North Florida and South Georgia from extensive destruction. The state just spent a large sum of money to acquire additional property at the battlefield, with help from concerned citizens who donated as well. To close the park now seem a slap in the face to all those who fought so hard to save the battlefield and devoted their own labor and money to the effort.

I encourage you to write to Governor Rick Scott and recommend that DEP look at slashing its administrative side instead of the state parks that mean so much to the heritage and economy of Florida. He can be reached via this link:

Here is a complete list of the parks being reviewed for closing, along with links for information on some of them:

Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park, Haines City
Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park, Stuart
Big Shoals State Park, White Springs
Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, Flagler Beach
Camp Helen State Park, Panama City Beach
Cedar Key State Museum State Park, Cedar Key
Colt Creek State Park, Lakeland
Constitution Convention Museum State Park, Port St. Joe -
Crystal River Archaeological State Park, Crystal River -
Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, Bushnell -
Dagny Johsnon Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, Key Largo
Deer Lake State Park, Santa Rosa Beach
Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, Gainesville -
Don Pedro Island State Park, Boca Granda
Dudley Farm Historic State Park, Newberry
Dunn’s Creek State Park, Pomona
Estero Bay Preserve State Park, Estero
Fort Cooper State Park, Inverness -
Fort George Island Cultural State Park, Jacksonville
Fort Mose Historic State Park, St. Augustine -
John Gorrie Museum State Park, Apalachicola -
Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, Ellenton -
Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park, Tallahassee -
Lake June-in-Winter Scrub State Park, Sebring
Lake Talquin State Park, Tallahassee
Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park, Tallahassee -
Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park, Islamorada
Madison Blue Spring State Park, Lee
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, Cross Creek -
Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park, Woodville -
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, Olustee -
Orman House Historic State Park, Apalachicola -
Paynes Creek Historic State Park, Bowling Green
Peacock Springs State Park, Luraville
Perdido Key State Park, Pensacola
Ponce de Leon Springs State Park, Ponce de Leon -
Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park, Jacksonville
Rock Springs Run State Reserve, Sorrento
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, Alachua
San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, St. Marks -
Savannas Preserve State Park, Jensen Beach
St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park, Stuart
St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere
Suwannee River Wilderness Trail/Nature and Heritage Tourism Center, White Springs
Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, Palmetto
The Barnacle Historic State Park, Coconut Grove
Troy Spring State Park, Branford
Wacasassa Bay Preserve State Park, Cedar Key
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, Palm Coast
Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, Port Richey
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, Islamorada
Ybor City Museum State Park, Tampa
Yellow River Marsh Preserve State Park, Holt

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