This past Tuesday, at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, FL, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with the help of partner agencies conducted a Statewide Recreation Outdoor Recreation Workshop (SCORP) for the panhandle region of Florida in an effort to connect public and private recreation providers, users and professionals with resources that can help improve awareness in a variety of areas as it relates to outdoor recreation and access. There were quite a few attendees that came out for the one-day workshop that featured 10 different group sessions on topics ranging from Partnerships in Recreation Resource Management to Active Leisure for Life: All Ages & All Abilities and more.
Along with opportunities to network with individuals and agencies, participants were invited to have lunch while listening to Linda Reeves with the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP) and Paul Arthur (and furry friends) from the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center near Freeport, Fl. As one can imagine, Mr. Arthur’s furry friends garnered a lot of attention from the audience.
One of the big takeaways from the workshop is how integral volunteers are at helping and complimenting larger organizations like the Florida State Parks system and the work being done by the Florida Trail System volunteers in coordination with the Florida Forest Service. These volunteers perform vital functions in a variety of areas including educating youth on Florida ecosystems to trail maintenance on over 1,000 miles of the Florida Scenic Trail.
Other information provided was Land and Recreation Grant Programs, the FORI (Florida Outdoor Recreation Inventory and various handouts explaining the huge financial contribution that outdoor recreation has on jobs, tourism, health and fitness, wildlife and conservation, quality of life and sustainability. The workshop finished on a strong point with a question and answer panel that reiterated making real Florida available to future generations.
Simply, SCORP’s plan is to provide resources and guidance to communities, businesses and organizations in an effort to create more diversity and better accessibility for everyone, including youth, people with disabilities, and seniors. Potential activities that stand to benefit are hiking trails, campsites, birdwatching areas, boat ramp access and many more.
For more information be sure to check out SCORP at www.dep.state.fl.us/parks/outdoors/scorp.htm and follow the Florida DEP on Twitter @FLDEPAlert and @FLDEPNews to stay up to date on upcoming events in your area.