TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the Great Outdoors Initiative to encourage Floridians to go outdoors and explore Florida’s natural resources, including our award-winning state parks, vast recreation areas, and world-renowned waterways. As part of the Great Outdoors Initiative, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 23-209 (The Great Outdoors Initiative) directing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to provide a significant 50% discount on annual state park passes and FWC Gold Sportsman hunting and fishing licenses.
Since the initiative was announced, sales of FWC Gold Sportsman licenses have increased, with 26% of all Gold Sportsman licenses sold over the last week being purchased by first-time license holders. This includes more than 1,400 Gold Sportsman Lifetime licenses being purchased for children 4 years old and under so that they can enjoy the outdoors for the entirety of their lives. Sales for annual state park passes have also seen huge increases over the last week, with more than 2,488 passes sold in the last week in comparison to 690 passes sold in the same week in 2022.
To learn more about the initiative and get your annual park pass or to purchase a FWC Gold SPortsman license, click here.
Read what Floridians are saying about Governor DeSantis’ Great Outdoors Initiative:
“The Great Outdoors Initiative celebrates the invaluable contributions of generations of sportsmen and women in conserving Florida’s natural resources and encourages new anglers to join in the important work of conservation,” said Trip Aukeman, Director of Advocacy for Coastal Conservation Association Florida. “Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for your leadership and dedication to preserving Florida’s status as the Fishing Capital of the World through this initiative, allowing us to continue creating lifelong memories on our beautiful waterways.”
“The Florida State Parks Foundation believes that everyone should be able to explore our award-winning state parks, trails and historic sites as often as they like, and the Great Outdoors Initiative makes it that much easier for families to enjoy their favorite parks year-round,” said Julia Gill Woodward, CEO, Florida State Parks Foundation. “There has never been a better time to purchase a Florida State Parks annual pass, and we are excited to know that there are families who may experience our state parks for the very first time because of this initiative.”
“One of the easiest ways to explore the Florida Wildlife Corridor is by visiting any of the 75 state parks within the Corridor and we applaud Governor DeSantis for his Great Outdoors Initiative that will now provide more accessibility to enjoy wild Florida,” said Mallory Dimmitt, CEO, Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation. “In addition to the annual parks pass discount, I’m hopeful the Sportsmen License reductions will encourage more hunters and anglers to take advantage. Sportsmen use and activities are important to the Corridor because they contribute to wildlife management, habitat conservation, and education.”
“Exploring a Florida State Park with your loved ones is a fantastic way to truly enjoy the beauty of our State,” said Donald Forgione, President, Florida Park Services Ranger Association. “With this initiative, it’s easy for Florida families and visitors to have a blast outdoors together. Our Park Rangers are excited to be part of making unforgettable memories with visitors to the Real Florida.”
“As a professional shooter, I am grateful for Governor DeSantis’ dedication to protecting my rights as both an athlete and a hunter,” said Dania Vizzi, World Champion Skeet Shooter. “I hope that his initiative inspires Floridians to enjoy all that our beautiful state has to offer.”
“Fishing is more than just a sport; it’s a gateway to exploring and conserving Florida’s beautiful natural resources,” said Gary Jennings, Director of Keep Florida Fishing for the American Sportfishing Association. “Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for championing the Great Outdoors Initiative and recognizing the vital role that fishing plays in our state’s heritage and economy.”
“I am grateful for Governor DeSantis’ recognition of Florida’s hunters as vital contributors to conservation,” said Eddie Hatch, National Wild Turkey Federation Florida State Chapter president. “I hope the Great Outdoors Initiative will encourage Floridians to explore the unique hunting opportunities offered throughout our state.”
“I am fortunate that hunting was a tradition passed down in my family and a way of life for us, as I have so many fond memories of being raised in Florida’s outdoors,” said Elizabeth Bland, American Daughters of Conservation Florida Chapter President and National Board Member. “Governor DeSantis’ Great Outdoors Initiative is a great opportunity for families to pass these traditions on to Florida’s next generation of hunters and anglers.”
“The Great Outdoors Initiative provides an excellent opportunity for residents and visitors to experience natural beauty along the East Coast Greenway and other trails across Florida,” said Robert Barto, East Coast Greenway Alliance Florida Manager. “With numerous state parks located on the East Coast Greenway, as well as connections to other state trail networks, exploring the Greenway route is a great way for nature lovers, cyclists, hikers, runners and others to connect with the great outdoors in the Sunshine State.”
“Florida families, let’s cast our support behind this incredible offer, led by Governor DeSantis,” said Captain Debbie Hanson, freshwater fishing guide. “This discount is a golden opportunity to create lasting memories in the great outdoors. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Governor DeSantis for this opportunity to share the enjoyment of Florida’s natural wonders and ensure that generations to come can continue the cherished tradition of fishing and outdoor adventures.”
“Paddle Florida is excited about ‘The Great Outdoors Initiative’ and encourages families to take advantage of this discounted fee program to come out and visit Florida’s Spectacular State Parks,” said Janice Hindson, Executive Director, Paddle Florida.
“Having a disability myself and by working with and for people with many different disabilities, I know that financial barriers to participation in outdoor recreation can be even more difficult than physical barriers to overcome,” said David Jones, Founder and Director, SportsAbility Alliance. “We appreciate the State of Florida removing physical and programmatic barriers and now with this project also helping some with financial issues for so many with limitations.”
“The State of Florida is a leader in protecting conservation and recreation lands through outstanding programs such as Florida Forever,” said Vernon Compton, Gulf Coast Plain Ecosystem Partnership Director, The Longleaf Alliance. “These lands not only benefit wildlife and natural communities but also provide a multitude of recreational benefits to the public. Because of the Great Outdoors Initiative, even more Floridians will have increased access and opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy these special places.”
“Florida provides a plethora of year-round opportunities for wonderful outdoor recreation. Our parks and trails provide opportunities for families and individuals to get out and be active and experience nature, special celebrations and other wonderful opportunities,” said Andy Palmer, City of Winter Haven Parks Planning & Strategic Initiatives Manager. “Here in Winter Haven, the City Commission passed a proclamation in celebration of Greenways and Trails Month. Parks and trails contribute to making our communities healthy, vibrant, and unique. We urge all of our residents and visitors to enjoy a park today.”