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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

plasticmaster
Explorer
Explorer
valhalla360 wrote:
way2roll wrote:
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?


It's kind of like when the kids ask to borrow the car. I paid for the car, so if I want to use it, I use it even if they want to borrow it.

No one is suggesting you can't use the state parks just that locals get first chance at the sites. Particularly for working class residents, it may be more of a challenge to hang out on line trying to work the reservations compared to a retired snowbird who has tons of time on their hands and lots of flexibility to switch parks if one is full.
I live in South Carolina and vacation at Bahia Honda State Park for 1 or 2 weeks each summer. If Floridians are given even a five second head start at booking reservations then I'll never be able to camp at Bahia Honda again. These sites are always booked the instant they become available. As it is now I've observed 80 to 90% campers there in the summer being from Florida. If this bill passes, it will be 100%.

valhalla360
Nomad II
Nomad II
JaxDad wrote:
From a business finance point of view I think the “subsidy“ idea is being misused, or possibly misunderstood.

If 2 different land owners are looking to calculate their “costs” of operating an RV park, in one case though the land has been in the family for several generations, the other just bought the land (at current market value) and has to carry financing on it, the “costs” will be VERY different. Ditto a park, public or private, that built decades ago and the servicing costs are now paid for.

That is NOT to say the long term owners are “subsidized” in any way, their costs are just lower.


Nope, when you calculate return on investment, it's the same.

If you have a $50million dollar park that's been in the family for generations, if you are only covering your operating costs plus say a $100k/yr profit, your ROI is absolutely horrible because you are effectively subsidizing your customers.

From a financial perspective, you would be far better off to sell and invest the money. Even at a measly 2% return, you would be able to take $1mil/yr profit with a lot less headaches.

Only difference if you are in debt to your eyeballs, the bank effectively owns the park and they have no interest in subsidizing your customers. Unless you have some external source of money (...like the taxpayer), you lose your option of subsidizing or the bank will take it away from you when you fail to make your payments.
Tammy & Mike
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JaxDad
Explorer III
Explorer III
From a business finance point of view I think the “subsidy“ idea is being misused, or possibly misunderstood.

If 2 different land owners are looking to calculate their “costs” of operating an RV park, in one case though the land has been in the family for several generations, the other just bought the land (at current market value) and has to carry financing on it, the “costs” will be VERY different. Ditto a park, public or private, that built decades ago and the servicing costs are now paid for.

That is NOT to say the long term owners are “subsidized” in any way, their costs are just lower.

bucky
Explorer II
Explorer II
The bill will probably get passed or modified in some way. Knowing how these thing work the bill will be so loaded down with pork by the time it gets voted on who knows.
Maybe they can charge for the orange juice at the welcome center to make up the deficit.
I do see Floridians flooding our beautiful NC in the warmer season and we're happy to see them and their money.
Puma 30RKSS

valhalla360
Nomad II
Nomad II
Dutch_12078 wrote:
valhalla360 wrote:
Dutch_12078 wrote:

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.


Not at all. State parks are typically heavily subsidized in terms of operation and facilities and hold prime land that most private parks could never afford.

The snowbird folks who use them heavily are taking advantage of that subsidy. On a modest scale, that's fine but if it's keeping out the folks who pay for the bulk of that subsidy (residents), it's certainly reasonable to tilt the table in favor of the locals a bit more.

Plenty of private parks available for those who want to visit florida.


We don't prefer the state and national parks in Florida for the price as much as we prefer them for the more spacious and often more private sites. Since we're limited to only two week stays at a time, it seems to me the locals have every bit as good a chance of getting sites as we do coming from out of state. We don't do anything any different to reserve sites than Floridians can do. But if you don't think the money we spend at area businesses and attractions has any value, then maybe you're really telling us to go elsewhere and let you guys fight among yourselves for sites. And BTW, the most common license plate I see during our winter stay in Florida state parks is Florida.


The fair market price for those spacious prime locations would be much higher...aka: the price is cheap due to it being subsidized.

Yes, they want tourism dollars but expecting heavy subsidization at the expense of citizens isn't a good way to generate it.
Tammy & Mike
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2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

valhalla360
Nomad II
Nomad II
way2roll wrote:
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?


It's kind of like when the kids ask to borrow the car. I paid for the car, so if I want to use it, I use it even if they want to borrow it.

No one is suggesting you can't use the state parks just that locals get first chance at the sites. Particularly for working class residents, it may be more of a challenge to hang out on line trying to work the reservations compared to a retired snowbird who has tons of time on their hands and lots of flexibility to switch parks if one is full.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

Dutch_12078
Explorer
Explorer
valhalla360 wrote:
Dutch_12078 wrote:

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.


Not at all. State parks are typically heavily subsidized in terms of operation and facilities and hold prime land that most private parks could never afford.

The snowbird folks who use them heavily are taking advantage of that subsidy. On a modest scale, that's fine but if it's keeping out the folks who pay for the bulk of that subsidy (residents), it's certainly reasonable to tilt the table in favor of the locals a bit more.

Plenty of private parks available for those who want to visit florida.


We don't prefer the state and national parks in Florida for the price as much as we prefer them for the more spacious and often more private sites. Since we're limited to only two week stays at a time, it seems to me the locals have every bit as good a chance of getting sites as we do coming from out of state. We don't do anything any different to reserve sites than Floridians can do. But if you don't think the money we spend at area businesses and attractions has any value, then maybe you're really telling us to go elsewhere and let you guys fight among yourselves for sites. And BTW, the most common license plate I see during our winter stay in Florida state parks is Florida.
Dutch
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JaxDad
Explorer III
Explorer III
valhalla360 wrote:
Dutch_12078 wrote:

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.


Not at all. State parks are typically heavily subsidized in terms of operation and facilities and hold prime land that most private parks could never afford.

The snowbird folks who use them heavily are taking advantage of that subsidy. On a modest scale, that's fine but if it's keeping out the folks who pay for the bulk of that subsidy (residents), it's certainly reasonable to tilt the table in favor of the locals a bit more.

Plenty of private parks available for those who want to visit florida.


I think you’ve got that stick by the wrong end there friend.

The “taxes” that “heavily subsidize” those parks are a mere fraction of what they’d be without the massive influx of tourist dollars.

According to the State’s own annual numbers, 131 million visitors, $98.8 BILLION in spending and $27.6 BILLION in direct taxes collected. Add to that 1.6 million jobs in tourism and $57.2 BILLION in wages by those employees.

Take a $100 BILLION out of the economy and see what happens to the taxation rate …..

Walaby
Explorer II
Explorer II
GTO66 wrote:
I don't think it needs to be a month one hour would be enough. The popular parks/sites are gone within seconds. As far as only taking weekends that can't happen unless the site comes open then. I also think it should cost more to cancel sites at least 50 percent and require the hole reservation to be cancelled.

If the popular sites are gone within seconds, then changing the rule will only make people feel better. They still won't get a spot, even if it's only Floridians that can apply for the first hour, day, week or month.

This is really sounding like a feel good bill. See, I fought for you guys.. or, we passed a law to prioritize our citizens. Doesn't matter that the average camper still won't get a spot.

Mike
Im Mike Willoughby, and I approve this message.
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Walaby
Explorer II
Explorer II
JoeH wrote:
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.

Well alrighty then. Sounds like at least one resident doesn't want low life out of towners to visit their precious state parks. Im at least grateful that your lawmakers don't ban out of state visitors from your state parks.
I will continue to use your state parks as long as I can make a reservation, and when I can't, I reckon I'll just take my tourism dollars elsewhere. The price of your 100,000 commercial campsites can be over the top. Why? Because they can? And if people didn't pay it, they wouldn't be sold out. Trust me, these RV parks are equally hard to get reservations at during the winter. Is that the real reason for the complaints? That Floridians don't want to pay the higher cost at RV resorts, so lets force our visitors to do that?

I don't know what other states do the same thing. I don't believe Georgia does, and there are a lot of nice places to hang out here in Georgia and we don't discriminate.

If residents have a month head start on reservations, then I think it will likely all but eliminate out of state visitors going to the top state parks. If those parks are truly sold out the vast majority of the time, then a handful of lucky Floridians will have an extra shot, but the majority of your residents will likely still not be able to take advantage. Then what will they complain about?

It is as complicated or as simple as you want to make it. Simple is everyone is treated equally and fairly. Complicated is trying to implement some sort of favoritism process which will favor a few, but still impact the masses. Then someone will change it again to avoid some segment of society pitching a fit... Lather, rinse, repeat. Then someone will dream up a solution to treat everyone fairly and not discriminate.

Mike
Im Mike Willoughby, and I approve this message.
2017 Ram 3500 CTD (aka FRAM)
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GTO66
Explorer
Explorer
I don't think it needs to be a month one hour would be enough. The popular parks/sites are gone within seconds. As far as only taking weekends that can't happen unless the site comes open then. I also think it should cost more to cancel sites at least 50 percent and require the hole reservation to be cancelled.

wapiticountry
Explorer
Explorer
steveh27 wrote:
As Bucky said, Let's not forget that Floridians over 65 already get half off pricewise. That does not apply to non-residents.
Half off something you can get a reservation for isn’t that great a deal.

Fizz
Explorer
Explorer
ronharmless wrote:
Fizz wrote:
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.
So no money ever crosses state lines except from tourists. Well there’s a concept Ford, Walmart and every other business in the world might dispute.


GOOGLE
How much of Florida's economy is tourism?
In 2019, Florida visitors contributed $96.5 billion to Florida's economy and supported over 1.6 million Florida jobs. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, $3.27 in state tax revenue is generated.

ronharmless
Explorer
Explorer
Fizz wrote:
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.
So no money ever crosses state lines except from tourists. Well there’s a concept Ford, Walmart and every other business in the world might dispute.

agesilaus
Explorer II
Explorer II
No one wants to bad other state campers from the FSP, we would just like to see residents have at least a 50 50 chance every month of the year.

Other state parks may not be as crowded or full since they just are not as good. Florida has repeatedly won the national park award. Plus Florida has a LOT of parks in highly desirable places. We have a dedicated, no political hands, funding source for new parks. And you never hear Florida Pols threaten or actually closing parks like Tennessee or Cali for example.

So it is true I'd like to camp in one of the six parks near me. And I suspect folks in Ottawa would like to do the same during their Fimbulwinter
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