Agriculture Press Release

October 1, 1998

Look to Floridas State Forests
For Recreational Opportunities This Fall

TALLAHASSEE Looking for something to do outdoors this fall? Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford suggests you consider a Florida state forest, where a variety of recreational opportunities are available within the 740,000 acres of state forest that cover Florida.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Forestry Association are in the midst of an educational campaign known as "Florida Forests Forever" to heighten consumer awareness of how important forests are to our lives. A major goal is to show how proper forest management can balance the need to protect the environment with the need to produce products made from trees. The campaign recently launched its recreation phase, focusing on the many recreational activities that exist in our own back yard.

"Floridas forests provide a variety of recreational activities year-round, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, swimming, and canoeing," Crawford said. "The goal of this phase of our campaign is to inform the public on the recreational benefits that exist as part of our multiple-use forest management strategy."

Most recreational opportunities that exist in Floridas state forests allow the public to explore at their leisure. Visitors can navigate the numerous trails to personally experience Floridas natural and untamed resources. Florida state forests also serve as outdoor classrooms for people of all ages to learn about Floridas forest environment. An added incentive to explore the states forests is the new Florida State Forests Trailwalker program established by the Departments Division of Forestry. The program will allow hikers of all ages to become certified State Forests Trailwalkers and earn merit patches by completing specified hiking requirements.

While forest lands are primarily upland areas, numerous rivers, streams, lakes and creeks provide recreational opportunities, such as swimming, fishing, boating and canoeing. During appropriate seasons, hunting is an option in many of Floridas state forests. They are managed as wildlife management areas through cooperative agreements with the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. Backpacking and primitive camping are also available in almost all of Floridas state forests.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Forestry Association are distributing information about recreational opportunities in Floridas state forests through television and radio public service announcements, news releases, appearances by experts on television and radio talk shows, and the distribution of brochures and other educational materials.

Other elements of the "Florida Forests Forever" campaign include an award-winning interactive CD-ROM being distributed to every middle school in Florida, a touring Showvan with 12 computer stations that feature the CD-ROM, the posting of more than 60 billboards across the state, and additional public service announcements focusing on the three major themes of the campaign: the environment, recreation and forest products.

For more information about recreational opportunities in Floridas state forests, contact John Waldron, Forest Recreation Coordinator, Division of Forestry, at (850) 414-0871.

Note to television and radio stations:

If you would like to have a spokesperson on a program to talk about the recreational opportunities available in Floridas state forests, or would like to interview someone on the subject, please contact Doyle Conner Jr., at (850) 922-9828. B-roll video of recreational activities in Florida state forests and a :30 recreational PSA video are available in Beta, Beta SP and 3/4-inch formats.


For more information:

John Waldron
(850) 414-0871

Frost Burke
(850) 487-8175

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