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spacer The Office of Park Planning
The Office of Park Planning

As one of the five bureaus or offices comprising the Division of Recreation and Parks, the Office of Park Planning provides a wide range of technical support and professional services beneficial to management of the Florida Park Service. Specific activities include:

Outdoor Recreation

Florida is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts with 160 state parks offering something for everyone. The physically active can select from hiking, biking, blading and equestrian trails. History buffs can spend their time visiting the many forts preserved from days gone by. Water worshipers can surf, swim and dive in oceans, rivers, lakes and springs. And boaters and anglers need just to decide, salt water or fresh.

The purpose of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, (SCORP) is to guide the development of a diverse, balanced, statewide outdoor recreation system toward meeting current and future needs. It provides the framework for a statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation planning and implementation process.

A dynamic recreation resource supply inventory provides the foundation for Florida's SCORP process. The Office of Park Planning maintains the database. The inventory is not only a planning tool for public and private recreation interests throughout the state but it also forms the basis of the statewide and regional supply and demand calculations found in Chapter 5 of the SCORP. View and interact with the Outdoor Recreation Planning (ORP) Inventory by following the link.

The National Park Service also requires each state to produce an updated SCORP every five years for continued eligibility to participate in and receive funding from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Document and Resource Links

Outdoor Recreation Planning (ORP) Inventory
Florida SCORP 2013 - Outdoor Recreation in Florida

Land Acquisition and Administration

Land acquisition is critical in the effort to provide a well-rounded, diverse state park system capable of meeting its mission, "to provide resource-based recreation while preserving, interpreting, and restoring natural and cultural resources".

The first steps in the provision of needed resources for public outdoor recreation in the state park system are identification, evaluation and establishment of priority projects for the Division's land acquisition program. Using this priority acquisition list, staff coordinates with the Division of State Lands regarding negotiation efforts and scheduling to represent the interests of the Division and to ensure the timely matching of available money with negotiated projects.

Once properties are placed under the management jurisdiction of the Division, OPP then assumes land administration responsibility. This responsibility includes resolving land title or boundary disputes, encroachments, removal or relocation of use rights, and easements and other encumbrances, all to protect or improve recreational opportunities for the public either directly or in support of park operations.

Document and Resource Links

Properties Under the Management Jurisdiction of the Division of Recreation and Parks
Florida Forever Land Acquisition Program

State Park Planning

The state park management plan forms the basis for all aspects of planning, budgeting, development, management and administration of the park. A major function of the management plan is to apply the philosophy and policies established in system planning to each park in the system on a localized basis. In doing this, the management plan considers the park in its broadest context, including external matters such as environmental threats, local economic impact and interaction with other existing parks.

The state park management plans consist of two interrelated components - the land use component which allocates the park's fixed supply of natural, cultural and recreational resources according to their optimum uses. And the resource management component which complements the land use component by identifying the various measures and programs needed to achieve resource management objectives.

The content, development and maintenance of unit management plans are directed by Florida Statutes 253 and 259. State Park Unit Management Plans are available in Adobe.pdf format and can be viewed by clicking on the link below and then selecting the appropriate park name.

Resource Management Component

Park resource management planning is highly individualized, even between parks in the same locality. As in land use planning, the development of resource management plans involves applying system-wide policies to unique, resource-specific situations.

Resource management planning begins with a thorough and detailed inventory of the park's natural and cultural resources, and an appraisal of their quality and condition. The purpose of this step is to identify resource management problems and needs. Next, specific management objectives and management measures for both natural and cultural resources are established, aimed at correcting identified deficiencies and sustaining the park's resource base in perpetuity. At this stage, important decisions are made on such issues as ecological burning, exotic plant and animal removal, mitigation of environmental intrusions, protection measures for listed plants and animals and the long-term restoration of natural conditions.

Land Use Component

The land use component is the resource allocation plan for the park. Conceptually, park land use planning may be thought of as a continuum, dealing in its broadest sense with identifying various use "zones" for the park, and in the narrowest sense, with locating and designing individual facilities at specific use sites. The development of the land use component is a critical phase in park planning. It commits park land and water resources to preservation of existing conditions or restoration of natural systems and cultural resources, or to development for public or support uses along prescribed lines.

This process begins by examining the setting or environment in which the park exists, considering such matters as transportation access, population, and adjacent land uses. Existing on-site conditions, facilities and uses are then assessed. Exceptional, rare or sensitive areas and features are identified and set aside for special treatment. Another important output of this step is an analysis of the park's recreation resource elements - those physical qualities that support the various resource-based recreation activities. In addition to providing a basis for determining the types and amounts of recreation the property will support, this analysis also identifies site limitations that may engender use conflicts, so efforts can be made to avoid them.

Once external factors and on-site attributes have been identified, an optimum allocation of the property's physical space is made. This step involves locating use areas (both recreational and administrative), and deciding on the types of facilities and volume of use. The final step in the process, site planning, involves the designing of individual use areas and the locating of specific facilities. Final site plans are normally developed only as the need arises, based on the anticipated availability of funding.

The content, development and maintenance of unit management plans is directed by Florida Statutes 253 and 259.

State Park Unit Management Plans are available in Adobe.pdf format and can be viewed by clicking on the link below and then selecting the appropriate park name.

Document and Resource Links:

Approved State Park Unit Management Plans
DHR Cultural Statement
Florida Natural Areas Inventory Descriptions
Carrying Capacity Guidelines
Planning Process
Recreational Boating Access in Florida State Parks

State Park Mapping

Managing Florida state parks' natural resources requires the Office of Park Planning to produce, analyze and maintain geographic data which is then incorporated into various goals, plans, programs and budgets. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology facilitates access to the data, tools and support needed by staff to efficiently perform tasks associated with land administration, resource management, land use planning and operations.

Geographic Information System (GIS) technology facilitates access to the data, tools and support needed by staff to more effectively and efficiently perform tasks associated with land administration, resource management, land use planning, and operations.

Data currently in the system is used to produce the maps contained in the state park unit management plans. These maps show park boundaries and facilities (base map), soils, topography, natural communities, optimum boundaries and conceptual land use.

Document and Resource Links:

Florida State Park System Map
Large (36 X 36)
Small (8½ X 11)

Florida State Park System District Maps
FPS District 1
FPS District 2
FPS District 3
FPS District 4
FPS District 5

Management Plans in Progress

Silver Springs State Park Management Plan Advisory Group
Calendar of public meetings

Proposals Under Consideration

Tallahassee Community College’s Wakulla Environmental Institute – Sublease of a Portion of Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
A public meeting was held June 17, 2014, to present the proposal and receive public comments.

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Last updated: April 01, 2015


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