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Eco-tourism

Set 1 of 13
Florida manatee deaths could reach record high Jul 15, 2019 - Wildlife officials say toxic Red Tide and chilly temperatures contributed to the sea cow deaths in 2018, but so far in 2019 the biggest threat to manatees are boats.
First responders rescue manatee stranded in St. Augustine Jul 14, 2019 - The female manatee, which measured nine feet and weighed an estimated 1,000 pounds, got stuck during low tide in a shallow, muddy area of the Matanzas River off Ocean Avenue and east of San Marco Avenue.
Florida Springs to Visit this Summer Jul 10, 2019 - We are almost three weeks into the Summer season, so don't think it's too late to plan a trip to one Floridas amazing springs and cool off from the heat! The springs are a perfect vacation to take your friends or family to as most of the parks offer Kayaking, Canoeing, Stand-up Paddle boards, Tubes, Wildlife, & Nature Trails.
Single-use plastics no longer allowed in Weeki Wachee River Jan 9, 2019 - Starting January 1, people launching into the river from the park's dock can only bring reusable containers or bottles with them. Several signs reading "only non-disposable items allowed on the river" have been posted throughout the parking lot and park entrance.
Set 2 of 13
Finding Florida paradise in a year of red tide and green slime Dec 18, 2018 - Florida's natural wonders have been in the news this year for all the wrong reasons: toxic tides, green slimes and rotting marine life.
Bob Knight: Too polluted to drink Nov 7, 2018 - For too many families, North Florida's once pristine groundwater may be unsafe to drink. One nasty pollutant is nitrate, a principal ingredient in synthetic agricultural and urban fertilizers, and in animal manure and human waste.
Florida's Environmental Concerns Prompt New Institute Oct 22, 2018 - The Thompson Institute for Earth Systems at the University of Florida says it wants to make sure people are in the know about the latest environmental risks and developments in the state.
Red tide reported moving into area Oct 3, 2018 - The FWC releases statewide red tide reports on Wednesdays and Fridays between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. But this week prior to Wednesday's report, some people in Destin and South Walton were saying they didn't need the official report to know there is a problem.
Set 3 of 13
Red Tide bloom now touching all three of Florida's coasts Oct 1, 2018 - The bloom has now touched all three of the state's coasts, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This appears to be only the second time that has happened since the state began officially tracking the blooms.
Wildlife Recovery...Not So Simple Sep 27, 2018 - The red tide is a naturally occurring phenomenon worldwide and the bloom in our area has been around since last October. It is still here but hopes are that it will subside as cooler weather, and cooler water, arrives.
Crew Cleanup for Manatee Season Sep 11, 2018 - As we near manatee season, divers collected several bags of trash to make the area safer for the sea cows. The bags of debris that line the intracoastal pose a problem with the sea cows migrating here starting in November.
Explore the Rivers and Springs near Tampa, FL Aug 16, 2018 - Tampa is justifiably famous for its bay access to the beaches and turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Less known, except to locals, are the many rivers, streams and springs that flow in and around Tampa. I
Set 4 of 13
Barnett shares hope, urges activism for water resource protection Aug 8, 2018 - The water that connects us "needs us now," author Cynthia Barnett told the crowd gathered at South Walton High School on July 25.
Camping at Juniper Springs Feb 24, 2018 - Right on the edge of Ocala National Forest lies Juniper Springs; a beautiful recreational area that was helped shaped by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Filled with swimming, canoeing, and kayaking the springs is also home to the Historic Millhouse.
Waterways in peril: Silver and Rainbow rivers Oct 2, 2017 - A deadline is looming for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to finalize cleanup plans for the Silver and Rainbow rivers but an agency official and environmentalists alike say the plans will not be enough.
Ailing Florida springs could be tapped further to fuel development May 23, 2017 - BROOKSVILLE ' Efforts by state officials to set a minimum flow for its iconic springs have stirred up a wave of public opposition. Opponents contend the state is willing to destroy its springs in order to justify continuing to provide water for new development.
Set 5 of 13
Some of the best vacation lodging is inside Florida's state parks May 8, 2017 - I love state parks, but I'm not a big fan of camping so the perfect solution for me is a state park cabin. I've stayed in cabins in 11 parks, some more than once.
Fighting intensifies over Silver Springs and rancher's water permit Apr 12, 2017 - Advocates for Florida springs say the state is falsely blaming aquatic grass and weeds for shriveling Silver Springs as a way to grant water rights to a wealthy rancher
Springs & wildlife make this river a special kayak trail Feb 15, 2017 - We didn't care that we didn't spot the manatees that frequent the Chaz or the bald eagles we were told to watch for. Let's not be greedy: It is a splendid kayaking river for the scenery alone.
Florida still bringing in a record number of tourists Nov 21, 2016 - JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Tourists continue to visit Florida in record numbers during a year that saw two hurricanes hit the state and federal officials warn away pregnant women from Miami due to the Zika virus.
Set 6 of 13
Time for Action at Three Sisters Springs Nov 16, 2016 - Without action from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this warm, welcome respite for manatees could be threatened by tourism
'Mermaids' make a splash at Aquarium of the Americas Nov 2, 2016 - Making a return to the majestic waters of the Aquarium of the Americas are the world-famous mermaids of the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Florida, one of the Sunshine State's oldest roadside attractions.
State grants will help springs: Marion County > $700K Oct 25, 2016 - The Florida DEP has awarded the St. Johns RWM District $1.5 million to help fund three springs restoration projects. Marion County will get $716,250 of that. The rest will go toward a Longwood Island Lake septic tank removal project.
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 Gwen Graham: Politics shortchanges, endangers water, Florida's greatest treasure Jul 31, 2016 - On a Workday at Wakulla Springs in North Florida, I saw firsthand what our state's water policy, or lack thereof, has done to our most valuable resource. The crystal-clear springs I remembered from my childhood are dark. Algae chokes the water of its oxygen. The glass bottom boats rarely run.
Set 7 of 13
Florida's algae problem stems from Lake Okeechobee pollution Jul 11, 2016 - A vast area drains into Lake Okeechobee, where water laden with phosphorus has fertilized the growth of horrific algae blooms that have been discharged to the ocean. The target phosphorus level for the lake is 105 metric tons a year. Last year, the lake received 450.
High Springs: Crystal clear immersion in a small-town oasis. Jun 1, 2016 - While it can take just a few hours to peruse the shops, it can take a full weekend to experience the parks, rivers, springs, and trails that surround the town.
Conservation area opens to public May 30, 2016 - State water and land regulators, along with environmental conservation representatives, officially opened the $11.5 million, 4,900-acre conservation land to the public on Friday, clearing the way for horseback riding, bike riding and trail hiking. About 100 people were in attendance.
Mosquitoes Not Bugging Visitors at Madison Blue Springs May 26, 2016 - LEE, FL (WTXL) -- Despite the nationwide Zika scare, visitors at Madison Blue Springs State Park say mosquitoes have not been bothersome.
Set 8 of 13
Jim Gross: River restoration would boost ecotourism May 24, 2016 - I understand this issue has been highly politicized for a long time. And yes, I am the executive director of Florida Defenders of the Environment, an organization dedicated to restoring the Ocklawaha River.
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.
Becoming Enchanted by the Springs Apr 29, 2016 - I find it difficult to explain the magic of our springs. You just have to see them or, better yet, swim in their crystal clear waters. Sometimes I tell people that it feels like flying, floating with nothing supporting me from above or below.
Set 9 of 13
Scott Signs 'Legacy Florida' For Everglades, Springs – WUFT Apr 9, 2016 - The measure (HB 989), that was important of legislative leaders coupled with the support of conservationists, could yearly put aside greater than $250 million for restoration work. The cash can come from funds that voters designated in 2014.
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.
Ron Littlepage: Environmental issues put a hit on Florida tourism Mar 23, 2016 - Visit the Sunshine State. But you may not want to do it now. This is turning out to be a bad spring for tourists and the tourism dollars that help fuel our economy.

One person suggested this would be a better slogan: "What was once the sea trout and red fish capital of the world is now the dead fish capital."
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.
Set 10 of 13
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
Editorial: Don'tlet forest land purchase fail Nov 13, 2015 - The proposed purchase of the 4,900-acre tract known as the Silver Springs Forest is an environmental and economic coup that cannot be allowed to fail.
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.
Manatee viewing center opens for the season on Sunday Oct 30, 2015 - When the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center opens for the season on Sunday visitors will notice several improvements. The center, which attracts about 250,000 visitors a month, expanded its boardwalk, brought in new benches and upgraded the overflow parking lot.
Set 11 of 13
Where there might be giants Oct 29, 2015 - Nothing says Florida like manatees, those lumbering sea creatures that manage to be reminiscent of both elephants and puppies. Because these aquatic mammals can't tolerate water temperatures below 68 degrees, in winter they head for inland springs and discharge canals near power plants to keep warm.
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.
In Florida, fears grow that environmental damage will hurt tourism Sep 22, 2015 - Indeed, in Miami and around Florida, tourism is booming, in large part due to the state's famed beaches and its other outdoor attractions. In 2014, the state hosted an estimated 98 million visitors, who contributed $82 billion to the economy, according to Visit Florida. This year, that figure is expected to leap past 100 million for the first time.
Set 12 of 13
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.
Amendment 1 backers start new environmental political group Aug 13, 2015 - Florida's Water and Land Legacy, the group that sponsored Amendment 1 in the 2014 election, has shuttered its doors and relaunched as Florida Conservation Voters, which backers say will have a broader mission of political activism on environmental issues.
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
Water giveaways: Something for nothing Jul 20, 2015 - The new Adena Golf and Country Club in Ocala is one of "Florida's best new golf courses" and that we are fortunate to have "another incredible golf course in the Ocala area." However, the new Adena golf course is a private club owned by Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach and will only be accessible to the privileged few.
Set 13 of 13
Florida's state parks are under assault Jun 15, 2015 - Jon Steverson, who heads the state Department of Environmental Protection, thinks state parks should operate like a corner 7-Eleven and make enough money to pay for themselves. Cattle grazing, logging, farming. Whatever it takes to make money.
Protecting Our Water - What Amendment 1 funds can do for Northeast Florida Jun 8, 2015 - In November of 2014, Florida voters overwhelmingly said 'Yes' to a constitutional amendment that would provide dedicated funding to conserve critical lands and protect our water resources.
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