Senator Debbie Mayfield Tours Sebastian Inlet State Park as Guest of the Florida Park Service
By Space Coast Daily // October 16, 2019
The visit comes at a time when Florida State Parks are attracting nationwide attention
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE BEACH, FLORIDA – Senator Debbie Mayfield, who represents District 17, visited Sebastian Inlet State Park recently as guest of the Florida State Parks Foundation and the Florida Park Service.
The visit, ahead of next January’s Legislative Session, was to brief Mayfield, chair of the Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government subcommittee, about new developments at the park and to discuss issues affecting all of Florida’s 175 award-winning parks and trails.
The visit comes at a time when Florida State Parks are attracting nationwide attention having just won the National Recreation and Park Association’s Gold Medal for Excellence for a record fourth time.
No other state has won it more than once.
Mayfield has long been a champion of Florida’s state parks and the environment, especially the Indian River Lagoon which is straddled by St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park and Sebastian Inlet State Park.
“Our state parks are an incredibly important resource for our residents. They are essential for our marine industries, for recreation, and for the vast marine life that they support,” she said.
Released last month, the Florida Park Service put in a Legislative Budget Request that included $50 million for fixed capital outlay projects, an additional $4 million for ADA facilities and $1.2 million for vehicles.
Florida State Parks Foundation CEO Julia Gill Woodward stressed both the environmental and economic importance of the state parks.
“Last year, our state attracted 28 million visitors from around the world, had an economic impact to the state of $2.4 billion and supported more than 33,500 jobs,” she said.
Woodward’s sentiments were echoed by Florida State Parks Director, Eric Draper.
“Having just been awarded our fourth gold medal as the nation’s best, our state parks are one reason Florida remains the tourist capital of the world. We all have a duty to preserve and protect them both today and for future generations,” Draper said.
The nonprofit Foundation supports the work of the state parks as well as all the local Friends groups working with individual parks and the 20,000 strong army of volunteers who last year volunteered more than 1.2 million hours of their time.
Sebastian Inlet State Park alone has an economic impact of over $66 million and supports 931 local jobs. Last year it received more than 761,000 visitors.
The park, which covers 970 acres has a staff of 20 supported by 237 volunteers.
Sebastian State Park has an economic impact of $8.5 million and supports 119 jobs locally. Last year it had over 92,000 visitors. The park, which covers 21,629 acres has a staff of five supported by 32 volunteers.
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