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Set 1 of 13
Robert Knight: A mixed year for the health of Florida’s springs Dec 22, 2017 - The past year has been a mixed blessing for Florida's springs. Mother Nature started the year with an extended drought that nearly depleted the flow in many intermediate-sized springs and promoted an explosion of filamentous algae in many larger ones.
State parks preserve natural treasures Jan 14, 2017 - Our state parks are Florida's highest quality natural treasures; think Wakulla Springs, Payne's Prairie, Florida Caverns in Marianna...irreplaceable natural and cultural resources. We are fortunate to have such a well-managed system of state parks.
Public Service Commission member next boss of Florida parks Dec 21, 2016 - Last week, with no explanation, the longtime boss of the award-winning Florida State Parks system was abruptly demoted. Donald Forgione was reassigned to run one single park in Gainesville instead of all 171.
Robert Knight: Springs can be saved from total destruction Oct 7, 2016 - The Florida Springs Council, an alliance of 37 organizations representing more than 150,000 members, hosted the Florida Springs Restoration Summit at the College of Central Florida in Ocala.
Set 2 of 13
Silver Springs State Park is at a crossroads Sep 26, 2016 - OCALA - At Silver Springs State Park the water's surface is serene even as millions of gallons gurgle up from the caverns beneath. The quiet park continues to be the subject of disagreement concerning what the visitor experience should include.
State wildlife officials put one-year pause on bear hunting Jun 24, 2016 - Florida wildlife officials voted to hold off on future bear hunts in the state until they can gather more information. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted 4-3 not to hold a bear hunt this year.
Robert Knight: Accounting for our groundwater inheritance May 24, 2016 - Donald Trump has nothing on today's Floridians. Like Trump, Florida's residents and tourists were born with a silver spoon in their mouths.
Spring into Summer May 18, 2016 - Florida is home to over 900 freshwater springs. Many of them are just a day trip away from Tallahassee. So, if you find yourself bored in the sweltering heat on campus this summer, here's the solution. Below are just some of the springs I got to adventure to last summer.
Set 3 of 13
Jackson Blue Springs part of a 'restoration plan' from state agencies May 17, 2016 - Jackson Blue Springs draws in visitors both near and far. It is the main source of water for Merritt's Mill Pond. State agencies want to keep those bodies of waters clean with a restoration plan.
10 Springs in Florida For The Nature Lover to Visit May 16, 2016 - Florida has more than 700 natural freshwater springs, more than anywhere else on earth, with water so pristine that it is not uncommon to spot exotic fish and manatee floating nearby.
Real Mermaids? Not Really, But… May 16, 2016 - Mermaids -- half woman, half fish -- are not supposed to exist. But for almost 70 years, mermaids have been swimming in the southeastern state of Florida. VOA recently visited the Weeki Wachee freshwater spring to learn about these mermaids.
Williford Spring 'sneak peek' shows restoration, renovations May 15, 2016 - The Northwest Florida Water Management District gave a 'sneak peek” of the Williford Spring recreation area, which is expected to reopen to the public this summer.
Set 4 of 13
what to pack for a day at florida's springs Apr 9, 2016 - Florida is home to some of the world's largest collections of freshwater springs. In fact, within an hour's drive of Orlando, you'll find more than a dozen springs alone.
Visit Florida's spending wrapped in secrecy Mar 28, 2016 - Visit Florida, a public-private group that will get $78 million in state money next year, says its spending is legal and crucial to its mission to boost tourism, which has helped set records each of the past five years, including more than 100 million visitors in 2015.
Sierra Club plans Saturday protest against state attacks on parks Feb 11, 2016 - To help raise awareness of what they say are short-sighted, special interest-pandering environmental policies at the state level, environmental activists are planning demonstrations in state parks throughout Florida, including Hillsborough River State Park.
Over 300 manatees cause closure of Florida springs Feb 10, 2016 - Over 300 manatees are currently crowding into a small one acre plot of Three Sisters Springs in Florida, an incredible sight that has led to the temporary closure of the area.
Set 5 of 13
South Florida company edges locals for Ichetucknee concessions Feb 8, 2016 - There's a new concessionaire at Ichetucknee Springs State Park, with state officials going with an established South Florida company over a newly formed partnership of local business people who have made their livelihood off the iconic swimming hole and tubing run for decades.
Editorial: Another assault on our parks Feb 8, 2016 - The assault on Florida's park and conservation lands continues in Tallahassee, as a new bill introduced under the guise of improving management of state lands proposes using Amendment 1 money for massive water transfer projects.
The Ultimate Central Florida Road Trip Is Right Here Feb 8, 2016 - Millions of people flock to Central Florida each year, and then never leave Disney property the entire time they're here. The middle of our state has some of the best attractions Florida has to offer, so all these folks are really missing out.
Approach to save Silver Springs lacks consensus Feb 2, 2016 - SILVER SPRINGS STATE PARK ' The Florida Department of Environmental Protection plan that outlines how to repair the polluted Silver Springs presented the local environmental community with an interesting quandary...
Set 6 of 13
Residents Worry About Possible Changes at Ichetucknee Springs Jan 20, 2016 - FORT WHITE, Fla. -- A retired park ranger is raising concerns that the state is looking to change the way the Ichetucknee Springs State Park is operating.
27 Amazing State Parks in Florida That Will Blow You Away Dec 30, 2015 - If you talk to a true Floridian, they will tell you one of the biggest benefits of living in Florida is the incredible wildlife. Florida has over 160 state parks, so this is sure to be an incomplete list, but here's some of our favorites.
New bottler shouldn't get OK to tap aquifer Dec 8, 2015 - You can't water your lawn when you want, but a new water-bottling operation is asking to pump millions of gallons for profit and probably will get an OK to do it.
Robert Knight: Industrialized farming diminishes region's springs Dec 7, 2015 - A natural spring ecosystem sickens when its flow is depleted and polluted. The damage to the springs in the Suwannee River basin is apparent to anyone who has a long-term perspective. The spring water is more likely to be green or brown than blue.
Set 7 of 13
Florida's women have history of saving parks: From The Community Dec 7, 2015 - If anyone can save Florida's parks now under serious assault by politicians and bureaucrats, it may be the state's women, who have proved time and time again to be the most fervent and persistent protectors of our unique natural places.
Palmer: We can fund operations of state parks without ruining them Nov 29, 2015 - Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jim Steverson has come up with some elaborate and controversial methods for making state parks financially self-sustaining. He and his predecessor have proposed cattle leases, hunting, commercial RV parks
DEP points to Wakulla Springs success Nov 18, 2015 - Now the weeds largely are gone and the nitrate-nitrogen that was feeding the growth has been cut in half. State environmental officials point to Wakulla Springs as a success symbol for springs protection. Some environmentalists say otherwise.
Editorial: Kill hunting for cash in state parks Nov 10, 2015 - How many times does it have to be said: Florida's parks are no place for hunting. That should be obvious to anybody. Yet the Department of Environmental Protection has left hunting on the table as another moneymaking scheme in pursuit of the misguided goal that the parks system pays for itself.
Set 8 of 13
Bill would waive Florida state park fees for an entire year Oct 27, 2015 - TALLAHASSEE - A new bill in Tallahassee would waive admission fees to all 174 state parks beginning July 1, 2016. The idea behind the bill is to encourage more people to enjoy the beauty of the Sunshine State's outdoors.
Manatee County Tourist Development Council supports ecotourism, arts, culture community Oct 23, 2015 - MANATEE - Europeans and other international travelers continue to boost tourism numbers in Manatee County. It's not only the area's beaches but evolving initiatives focused on arts, culture, Florida's other environmental assets and conservation that's bringing them here.
Top 10 Ways to Take in the Old Florida, New Vibe of West Volusia Oct 15, 2015 - WEST VOLUSIA, FL - When people think of Daytona Beach, the roar of engines and thundering surf most easily come to mind, but there's another side to Daytona that one might never discover.
Florida by Water: Go Tubing Sep 15, 2015 - On hot summer days, let the current carry you under a cool canopy of trees. Refreshing and relaxing, river tubing is a low-tech, all-natural way to get out on the water. On most routes, you can stop to swim or picnic before floating on. Observe posted signs and rules of the river to stay safe and avoid trespassing.
Set 9 of 13
Hidden gems of Walton County - Florida state parks Sep 10, 2015 - Northwest Florida is renowned for the pristine white beaches and emerald waters. While these two distinct features are treasures of the Panhandle, the state parks in Walton County are the hidden gems.
Our opinion: The nature business Sep 9, 2015 - We'll admit, Tallahasseeans reflexively get a little nervous when Florida officials start talking about running state government like a business. It's not a business. There are things in state administration that business can help with, and certainly business efficiencies can improve public services.
Paddling the Santa Fe River Aug 31, 2015 - The folks at Rum 138 Outfitters were great, taking the time to match us up to the right boat. Many of of our group choose tandem kayaks, a few went in canoes, and the rest of us went in single kayaks.
Spring into nature's coolest pools Aug 24, 2015 - Take this time this summer to explore some of Gainesville's most inviting natural wonders. With temperatures hovering around 72 degrees year-round, the area's refreshing springs make it easy to cool off during this sweltering season.
Set 10 of 13
The Rivers & Beaches of Wakulla County Aug 13, 2015 - Situated on the Gulf Coast is one of Florida's best hidden treasures. The rivers and beaches of Wakulla County provide an abundance relaxing and adventurous activities, including boating, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, scalloping, and snorkeling
Despite Concerns and Criticism, New Florida DEP Chief Appointed Aug 11, 2015 - TALLHASSEE - Amid controversy over his plans to allow commercial use of state parks by private companies, Florida Department of Enivironmental Protection Secretary Jon Steverson was voted in as the department's chief on Wednesday after facing questions from Gov. Rick Scott and his cabinet.
Florida's Environment, the Challenge of a Growing Population Aug 5, 2015 - For the first time in 20 years, Florida wildlife officials are issuing permits to hunt bears. The hunt, which starts in October, is part of a plan to manage the growing black bear population.
But environmentalists say it's a bad idea, and a lawsuit was filed last week to stop the hunt.
America's Secret Swimming Holes Jul 29, 2015 - Congrats to Weeki Wachee Springs. Launch yourself into the country's sexiest natural spots to cool off! From the aquamarine waters of Havasu Falls to a crystal-blue oasis in New Mexico, these places are hidden and hard to reach but well worth the adventure.
Set 11 of 13
Editorial: Protecting state parks Jul 29, 2015 - As chief naturalist for the Florida Park Service, Jim Stevenson chaired a committee that wrote the management plan for Paynes Prairie when it was bought by the state. Now retired, Stevenson recently told The Sun, the group voted to remove cattle and fences from the former ranch as it made the transition to being the state's first preserve.
Down for the count, but not out Jul 16, 2015 - Despite a deeply disappointing legislative session, local environmentalists have not given up their quest for improved water quality.

This Sunday, a clean water rally will be held at Crescent Beach Family Park at noon in memory of one of Lee County's quiet heroes, Jo Finney of Fort Myers Beach.
Help save Silver Springs Jul 10, 2015 - The Sleepy Creek/Adena water use permit request will harm #SilverSprings. Tell the SJRWMD your thoughts before Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Industry should pay more to restore springs, advocacy group says Jul 8, 2015 - An Alachua County-based coalition of springs advocacy groups says the state's current approach to springs restoration is flawed and relies too heavily on funding projects that should be the responsibility of private industry.
Set 12 of 13
Springs group says state process helps 'largest polluters' Jul 7, 2015 - TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Springs Council is preparing to hammer Florida's current process for doling out springs restoration funding, which it says helps 'the largest polluters,' according to a letter the group will send to top state environmental regulators.
Marion County application adds 470 acres to Florida Forever list Jun 29, 2015 - Marion County's springs protection efforts took an important step forward this month. On Friday, June 19, Marion County Parks and Recreation's application to add the Silver Springs Sandhill site to the 2016 Florida Forever project list was unanimously approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Acquisition and Restoration Council.
Governing Board Votes On Controversial Permit July 14 Jun 29, 2015 - In May, an Administrative Law Judge ruled against St. Johns Riverkeeper, Sierra Club Northeast Florida, Jeri Baldwin, and Karen Ahlers in a legal challenge of the permit for Sleepy Creek Lands (formerly known as Adena Springs Ranch).
Amendment 1 and Blue Springs Jun 26, 2015 - As The Sun reported last week, the state's Acquisition and Restoration Council unanimously voted to add the popular swimming hole in Gilchrist County to the list of springs slated to be bought with Florida Forever funds.
Set 13 of 13
BREAKING: Enviro groups sue legislature over Amendment 1 spending Jun 23, 2015 - Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit this afternoon against the Florida legislature, claiming lawmakers misappropriated funds intended for land and water conservation and land purchases to protect the environment.
DEP, activists at odds over cattle grazing in state park Jun 22, 2015 - The Department of Environmental Protection is looking at using thousands of acres in Myakka River State Park for cattle grazing.
The department says leasing the land would help taxpayers and make the park more self-sustaining. However, local activists say it will destroy a rare habitat we have in Florida.
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