cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Bill giving residents priority at booking FL state parks

plasticmaster
Explorer
Explorer
If you're interested in Florida State Bill 76 which allows Floridians a one month head start at booking Florida State Parks campsites, here's Senator Hooper's presentation to committee. He begins at the 8:15 mark. If passed, it would basically eliminate non Floridians from camping at popular Florida State Parks, due to the competitive nature of reserving these sites. I believe his presentation is a little misguided though because I've observed every summer over the last 14 years at Bahia Honda at least 80 to 90% of the campers being from Florida.

https://www.flsenate.gov/media/videoplayer?EventID=1_ky7xx6qg-202301171330&Redirect=true
73 REPLIES 73

padredw
Nomad
Nomad
Thank you, PlasticMaster. I hope others will read with as much understanding as you have. Unfortunately, some will move right past as if I had never posted.

I intended it entirely positively and hope it will be received in that same attitude.

It is a very important issue with two quite different ways of resolving it. I hope the right path will be taken as the example for other state.

plasticmaster
Explorer
Explorer
Dennis Henderson wrote:
plasticmaster wrote:
... I believe his presentation is a little misguided though because I've observed every summer over the last 14 years at Bahia Honda at least 80 to 90% of the campers being from Florida.

https://www.flsenate.gov/media/videoplayer?EventID=1_ky7xx6qg-202301171330&Redirect=true


Thank you for the link. I agree that the majority of SUMMER campers are from Florida. No one else from up north in their right mind would want to come to camp in HOT Florida in the summer.

The reverse is true, however, for the great weather months of October, November, December, January, February and March. Out-of-staters and Canadians are in the majority.

Most other state parks around the country and many county parks give residents an advantage over non-residents. We are hoping for that to happen here with our Florida State Parks and our residents.

Denny and Cindy Henderson
Florida State Parks FAQ page states that 61% of overnight guests over past 5 years are Florida residents. I guess my observation of summer campers is offset some by the winter campers, but the majority is still Floridians.

plasticmaster
Explorer
Explorer
padredw wrote:
We first stayed in a Florida State Park in 1962. It was then called "Fort Pickens State Park" but is now a part of the National Seashore. On that trip we traveled all around the perimeter of Florida with a tent--all the way down to the Everglade National Park on the Gulf side and back up on the Atlantic all the way up to Tomoka State Park. We were a young couple then traveling with a car and tent. We stayed mostly in Florida State Parks on that trip. We fell in love with Florida State Parks 60 years ago

Later, with our family, we spent weeks instead of days at our favorite parks with a larger tent: Fort Pickens, St. Andrews, Manatee Springs, etc. Upon retirement we became RV campers. Florida remained one of our favorite destinations. We have wonderful memories of staying in our trailer at St. Andrews and Fort Pickens.

I am now 90 years old; my wife is 87; but we have given up being able to spend even 4 or 5 days at St. Andrews--or probably any other state park in Florida. We are lucky to get 3 or 4 days at Fort Pickens National Park, and that is without such a law as this.

We don't blame anyone for this, certainly not the state of Florida or residents of Florida. The same thing has become true all over the country. It is certainly true of our popular state parks here in Texas. It is almost impossible to get a week at Tyler State Park here in East Texas, or in Inks Lake State Park in the Hill Country.

But for the state of Florida to take the step suggested by that Bill is an entirely different thing. The principle of reciprocity is important to "travelers" such as we still are more than it is to full timers. We travel from state to state with the feeling that we are guests, but we know that for people traveling to Texas we are the hosts. I suggest that should be the norm. I can just imagine if we get state after state making such distinctions and passing laws. I look back over 25 years of RV traveling (and 60 years of state park camping) with great appreciation of the hospitality of almost every state in the nation.

This law is not likely to affect the few years I have left to travel, but I think it would be a tragic decision and a terrible precedent for other states. Think carefully and remember to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Sir, this is the best and most rational post I've read in a long time. I wish many more happy camping trips for you and your wife. Take care.

way2roll
Nomad III
Nomad III
What happened to first come first serve? If you're a Floridian that didn't get a site, you didn't book early enough. It's same with every other CG in the US. Why do I get ads for other state's tourism and state parks if they don't want me there?

I do find it funny when we visit family in MD at state parks, we notice there are several spots vacant in the CG but booked. Locals book them and lock them up because they are cheap, and only use them if they feel like it. It's almost impossible to book a state park anywhere on the east coast for the spring or summer and we aren't even through January. I feel like the days of winging it are over. We used to travel and if we got tired, looked for a cg for the night. Now if you don't have things booked months in advance, you have nowhere to go.
2023 FR Sunseeker 2400B MBS

valhalla360
Nomad II
Nomad II
bucky wrote:
We can't afford $3K monthly sites.


Outside of the Keys and a handful of uber high end parks...where are you getting $3k/month from?

Of course, if you are pleading poverty that undermines the idea that snowbirds inject a lot of money into the economy.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

padredw
Nomad
Nomad
We first stayed in a Florida State Park in 1962. It was then called "Fort Pickens State Park" but is now a part of the National Seashore. On that trip we traveled all around the perimeter of Florida with a tent--all the way down to the Everglade National Park on the Gulf side and back up on the Atlantic all the way up to Tomoka State Park. We were a young couple then traveling with a car and tent. We stayed mostly in Florida State Parks on that trip. We fell in love with Florida State Parks 60 years ago

Later, with our family, we spent weeks instead of days at our favorite parks with a larger tent: Fort Pickens, St. Andrews, Manatee Springs, etc. Upon retirement we became RV campers. Florida remained one of our favorite destinations. We have wonderful memories of staying in our trailer at St. Andrews and Fort Pickens.

I am now 90 years old; my wife is 87; but we have given up being able to spend even 4 or 5 days at St. Andrews--or probably any other state park in Florida. We are lucky to get 3 or 4 days at Fort Pickens National Park, and that is without such a law as this.

We don't blame anyone for this, certainly not the state of Florida or residents of Florida. The same thing has become true all over the country. It is certainly true of our popular state parks here in Texas. It is almost impossible to get a week at Tyler State Park here in East Texas, or in Inks Lake State Park in the Hill Country.

But for the state of Florida to take the step suggested by that Bill is an entirely different thing. The principle of reciprocity is important to "travelers" such as we still are more than it is to full timers. We travel from state to state with the feeling that we are guests, but we know that for people traveling to Texas we are the hosts. I suggest that should be the norm. I can just imagine if we get state after state making such distinctions and passing laws. I look back over 25 years of RV traveling (and 60 years of state park camping) with great appreciation of the hospitality of almost every state in the nation.

This law is not likely to affect the few years I have left to travel, but I think it would be a tragic decision and a terrible precedent for other states. Think carefully and remember to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

agesilaus
Explorer II
Explorer II
This area doesn’t strike me as a hot bed of campers nor home to very many big camping State Parks.


Maybe that is what it looks like from the distance of Ottawa. But it is wrong. That is the start of Gulf Coast beach access and the beginning of the northern springs parks. Very popular parks. Check Ft Desoto for example. Or Rainbow Springs.
Arctic Fox 25Y Travel Trailer
2018 RAM 2500 6.7L 4WD shortbed
Straightline dual cam hitch
400W Solar with Victron controller
Superbumper

plasticmaster
Explorer
Explorer
JoeH wrote:
Dennis Henderson wrote:
plasticmaster wrote:
... I believe his presentation is a little misguided though because I've observed every summer over the last 14 years at Bahia Honda at least 80 to 90% of the campers being from Florida.

https://www.flsenate.gov/media/videoplayer?EventID=1_ky7xx6qg-202301171330&Redirect=true


Thank you for the link. I agree that the majority of SUMMER campers are from Florida. No one else from up north in their right mind would want to come to camp in HOT Florida in the summer.

The reverse is true, however, for the great weather months of October, November, December, January, February and March. Out-of-staters and Canadians are in the majority.

Most other state parks around the country and many county parks give residents an advantage over non-residents. We are hoping for that to happen here with our Florida State Parks and our residents.

Denny and Cindy Henderson


I agree... in 2010 I did a study of park occupancy during the snowbird season in south Florida ( e.g. Collier Seminole,Pennekamp,Long Key, Bahia Honda,Curry Hammock ) and the vast majority of sites were occupied by out of state residents. For example at Collier Seminole, on many of the days, over 90% were non-residents. This data was captured by site visits and from Reserve America reports. The results were presented to the then Director of State Parks, Don Forgione and staff. They then undertook a study and reviews confirming my findings. Due to political considerations, it never moved much forward other than continued discussions. I also pointed out that several counties in Florida offer preference in reservations to their county residents and that 18 other states offer some type of preference to their residents.

It's about time Florida did the same. Residents pay for the parks via taxes and should be able to use them. There are plenty of commercial campgrounds to accommodate visitors from other states.
To put it in perspective, there are only 3600 campsites in the state park system, that people are trying to reserve and there are well over 100,000 commercial campsites that those visitors can use.
I'm from SC and vacation at Bahia Honda State Park in the Keys for a week or two each summer. Show me a private campground that offers anything close to what Bahia Honda offers especially at similar price. This bill will eliminate folks like me from ever visiting these wonderful parks again due to the competitive nature of acquiring a campsite.

Fizz
Explorer
Explorer
nickthehunter wrote:
That's a straw argument - I'm pretty sure the Florida residents spend as much money in florida as the snowbirds by about 5 times over.


You never get ahead with that, all you're doing is passing that dollar round and round to the same people. You need a steady influx of new money to make a real profit.

nickthehunter
Nomad II
Nomad II
Dutch_12078 wrote:
agesilaus wrote:
ronharmless wrote:
Well to me I it would depend: who is carrying most of the freight and by how much - camping fees or state taxpayers? Private campgrounds it’s a no brainer.


It is obvious that for SP that the taxpayer is footing the bill. I suspect the actual operating costs are all or mostly funded by fees tho. I have no doubt the cg would still be filled up no matter who has preference. Land purchases are funded by a Doc Fee tax I believe. I've lost track how many parks the state has, near 200 when I last checked.

The only obvious way to give residents preference would seem to be opening the reservation period for the first X time to residents only.
Maybe if there is a six month res period giving the residents the first four months.

I am 100 persent for this.

They need to fix the online system which is awful right now. Bettter to go back to the old system.


You do understand that you're telling the snowbird crowd you don't want our money coming into your state don't you. What we spend for state park sites is only a small part of what we spend at area businesses and attractions.
That's a straw argument - I'm pretty sure the Florida residents spend as much money in florida as the snowbirds by about 5 times over.

JoeH
Explorer III
Explorer III
Dennis Henderson wrote:
plasticmaster wrote:
... I believe his presentation is a little misguided though because I've observed every summer over the last 14 years at Bahia Honda at least 80 to 90% of the campers being from Florida.

https://www.flsenate.gov/media/videoplayer?EventID=1_ky7xx6qg-202301171330&Redirect=true


Thank you for the link. I agree that the majority of SUMMER campers are from Florida. No one else from up north in their right mind would want to come to camp in HOT Florida in the summer.

The reverse is true, however, for the great weather months of October, November, December, January, February and March. Out-of-staters and Canadians are in the majority.

Most other state parks around the country and many county parks give residents an advantage over non-residents. We are hoping for that to happen here with our Florida State Parks and our residents.

Denny and Cindy Henderson


I agree... in 2010 I did a study of park occupancy during the snowbird season in south Florida ( e.g. Collier Seminole,Pennekamp,Long Key, Bahia Honda,Curry Hammock ) and the vast majority of sites were occupied by out of state residents. For example at Collier Seminole, on many of the days, over 90% were non-residents. This data was captured by site visits and from Reserve America reports. The results were presented to the then Director of State Parks, Don Forgione and staff. They then undertook a study and reviews confirming my findings. Due to political considerations, it never moved much forward other than continued discussions. I also pointed out that several counties in Florida offer preference in reservations to their county residents and that 18 other states offer some type of preference to their residents.

It's about time Florida did the same. Residents pay for the parks via taxes and should be able to use them. There are plenty of commercial campgrounds to accommodate visitors from other states.
To put it in perspective, there are only 3600 campsites in the state park system, that people are trying to reserve and there are well over 100,000 commercial campsites that those visitors can use.
Joe
2013 Dutch Star 4338- all electric
Toad is 2015 F-150 with bikes,kayaks and Harley aboard

JaxDad
Explorer III
Explorer III
wapiticountry wrote:
Florida residents not getting sites at Florida state parks vote in Florida elections. Out of state RVers not getting a site don’t .


This is an interesting point to me, the Senator’s ‘home turf’ is Tampa and the Gulf coast from Clearwater north a ways.

This area doesn’t strike me as a hot bed of campers nor home to very many big camping State Parks.

steveh27
Explorer
Explorer
As Bucky said, Let's not forget that Floridians over 65 already get half off pricewise. That does not apply to non-residents.

bucky
Explorer II
Explorer II
It will be what it becomes but that will be the end of us coming to FL every winter for a month or so. We can't afford $3K monthly sites.
Let's not forget that Floridians over 65 already get half off pricewise.
I've spoken with many Floridians during the winter months that are only in the campgrounds because they are renting out their home 5 miles away for ridiculous prices. That's not a wrong thing. You can't blame them for using their noggins.
Puma 30RKSS

LMHS
Explorer II
Explorer II
This was on another RV forum. https://www.rvforum.net/threads/should-state-residents-get-1st-shot-at-state-run-campground-reservations.142012/