Donald Forgione: Time for a Florida winter hike

A walker on the Lachua trail in Paynes Prairie State Preserve.

File photo
Published: Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.

I love Florida winters. The temperatures are just right to take that long hike on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, gather family and friends around the campfire at Myakka River State Park or retreat after a fun day of kayaking to a cozy cabin at Lake Louisa State Park.

The winter season is a special time for our state parks as they host many holiday-themed events and seasonal tours. We have seen a record number of visitors in recent months at some of our special holiday events, so I know the parks inspire and help keep up the holiday spirit throughout the winter.

I encourage Floridians and visitors to continue this trend in 2013. Start the New Year right by participating in America's State Parks First Day Hikes on Jan. 1. More than 60 of Florida’s state parks and trails are hosting events, the most events in the country. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family. Find the nearest participating state park at

Florida’s state parks bring out the explorer in all of us. You'll always find something new to see and fun to do with opportunities to create life-long memories. I hope to see you soon at a state park. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Donald V. Forgione

Director, Florida Park Service

Department of Environmental Protection

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