Peacock Springs State Park Expansion Completed (FL)
TALLAHASSEE, FL,12/27/2006: The state today completed the purchase of approximately 481 acres from The Trust for Public Land that will expand Florida’s award-winning state park system. Located in Suwannee County, today’s purchase will more than double the size of Peacock Springs State Park, which now will offer more than 750 acres of land for visitors to enjoy.
“With this purchase, we are protecting one of Florida’s vital springs and cave systems by incorporating it into one of our award-winning state parks,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Colleen M. Castille. “Through programs such as Florida Forever and the Florida Springs Initiative, we can ensure our precious natural resources are preserved, while still providing public access and recreational opportunities.”
Peacock Springs State Park includes two major springs, a spring run and six sinkholes – all in near pristine condition. The park is home to one of the longest underwater cave systems in the continental United States. Approximately 28,000 feet of underwater passages have been explored and surveyed by cave divers, including the property just purchased. The springs and cave system attract local, national and international visitors for scuba and cave diving. The park also provides areas for picnicking and grilling, and includes hiking trails with signs that describe the underwater cave system beneath visitors’ feet.
“Florida’s freshwater rivers and springs are some of our most precious – and most sensitive – natural assets,” said Andy McLeod, interim director of The Trust for Public Land’s Florida office. “We were very pleased to work with the state to ensure Peacock Springs’ preservation, and particularly pleased that Floridians have had the foresight to approve the Florida Forever program so that critical lands like these can be acquired.”
Florida’s state park system is one of the largest in the country with 159 parks spanning more than 725,000 acres and more than 100 miles of sandy white beach. From swimming and diving in rivers and springs to birding and fishing or hiking and riding on natural scenic trails, Florida’s state parks offer year-round outdoor activities for all ages. Battle re-enactments and Native American festivals celebrate Florida’s unique history, while art shows, museums and lighthouses offer a window into Florida’s cultural heritage.
The 10-year, $3 billion Florida Forever program established by Governor Bush and the Florida Legislature in 1999 conserves environmentally sensitive land, restores waterways and preserves important cultural and historical resources.
The Florida Springs Initiative, established by Governor Jeb Bush in 2001, is the first comprehensive, coordinated plan to restore and protect Florida’s more than 700 freshwater springs. Last year the Florida Springs Initiative set aside more than $300,000 to protect spring ecosystems, water quality and flow within Florida’s award-winning state park system.
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. In Florida, TPL has protected more than 300 sites, many of which focus on preserving water quality and public access to the state’s lakes, rivers and springs. For more information about TPL, go to www.tpl.org/florida.
For more information on the Florida Forever program, visit www.FloridaForever.org. For information on Florida State Parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org.