Message from Our Director

Chuck Hatcher

Preserving historic resources for the future.  

Preserving Florida means protecting wildlife, nature and historic sites for posterity. 

May is National Preservation Month. At Florida State Parks, preservation is one of the pillars of our mission, which is to provide resource-based recreation while preserving, interpreting and restoring natural and cultural resources. Every habitat we rehabilitate, shoreline we stabilize and historic site we restore are in the name of preservation. The National Register of Historic Places is an official account of buildings and sites that have historical value, and I’m proud to say that many of our parks are home to these locations. 

The Barnacle Historic State Park, once the home of a yacht designer and early resident of Coconut Grove, is the oldest house in Miami-Dade County still standing in its original location. This house is special because it serves as a reminder of the nautical roots of the area. Fort George Island Cultural State Park is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This park is home to an early 20th century waterfront resort, the Ribault Club. This beautiful location offers tours, weddings and a visitor center highlighting the history of the location. 

Another park that has been recognized nationally for its historical contribution is Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. The mermaid shows at Weeki Wachee Springs have entertained visitors since 1947. The magic of these shows is a sight to see! I’m proud that one of our parks has had such a cultural impact, not just in Florida but worldwide. 

Keeping these sites intact is something that we prioritize at Florida State Parks. The rich history of Florida is on full display when you’re immersed in the architecture and nature that people have experienced for over a century. I invite you to come out and see for yourself! 

See you in the parks, 

Chuck Hatcher, Director

Florida State Parks