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Florida Department of Environmental Protection

FDEP is the lead state agency for environmental management and stewardship.  Within the agency, the Division of State Lands, the Florida Park Service, and the Office of Greenways and Trails take lead responsibility for land conservation and management.

From energy policy to environmental education, the FDEP has a hand in a wide array of environmental issues.  Priorities of the FDEP include Everglades restoration, improving air quality, restoring and protecting the water quality in our springs, lakes, rivers and coastal waters, conserving environmentally-sensitive lands and providing citizens and visitors with recreational opportunities.  Although many of the department’s programs have a conservation connection, some are expressly dedicated to land preservation and management: The Division of State Lands administers Florida Forever, the state’s environmental land acquisition program; the Division of Recreation and Parks manages Florida's award-winning state park system; and the Office of Greenways and Trails is working to establish a statewide system of greenways and trails for recreation and conservation.  Learn more about these partners in conservation below.

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Programs and Projects:

Division of State Lands

Through a succession of environmental land acquisition programs including Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL), Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL), Preservation 2000, and the current Florida Forever program, the Division of State Lands has acquired over 3 million acres on behalf of the citizens of Florida.  The Division leases these lands for state parks, forests, wildlife management areas, and historic sites and provides oversight for the management of these lands. 

The Division of State Lands serves as primary staff to the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC), which is responsible for the evaluation, selection and ranking of land acquisition projects on the Florida Forever priority list.  The Division contracts with the Florida Natural Areas Inventory to provide scientific support to the FDEP and the ARC for Florida Forever.

Click here to learn more about the Division of State Lands

Click here to learn more about the Florida Forever program

Click here to learn more about the Florida Natural Areas Inventory

 

The Florida Park Service

With 161 parks covering 700,000 acres, the Florida park system is one of the largest in the country.  It has also been recognized as one of the nation’s best, twice receiving the national Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.  State parks contain some of Florida’s most precious resources, including one of the largest remaining expanses of dry prairie at the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, the rare coastal dune lakes of Topsail Hill State Preserve State Park, and the colorful coral reefs of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.  Florida State Parks also protect many of our first magnitude springs and the creatures that inhabit them.   Florida’s most spectacular beaches may be found in state parks such as T. H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula, Anclote Key Preserve and Amelia Island State Parks.

The Florida Forever program has helped expand the state park system with significant additions to existing parks such as Torreya and Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Parks , as well as the acquisition of new parks such as Bald Point and St. Marks River State Parks.

Explore the Florida Online Park Guide

Learn More about the Florida Park Service

 

The Office of Greenways and Trails

The mission of the Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT) is to create a statewide system of greenways that would link natural areas and open spaces, conserving native landscapes and ecosystems and providing recreational opportunities across the state.  Land acquisition, land management, and conservation priority planning are tools OGT uses to fulfill this mission.  The OGT has acquired more than 8,000 acres to protect and improve environmental lands, water resources and urban greenspace.  These include lands for recreational trails throughout the state, including the 32-mile Nature Coast State Trail, the 29-mile General James Van Fleet State Trail, and the 46-mile Palatka-Lake Butler State Trail. 

OGT manages the state’s premier greenway, the 70,000-acre Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway which stretches 110 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Johns River.  In addition OGT manages many trails familiar to outdoor enthusiasts such as the Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad State Trail and Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail.

OGT has also worked with the University of Florida GeoPlan Center to develop priority maps for recreation trail opportunities and ecological greenways.

Learn more about the Office of Greenways and Trails

Explore the Existing Trails Database

Learn more about the Florida Ecological Greenways Network

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