Letters to the Editor

National parks need protection, proper maintenance and funding

I'm glad to see so many environmental events pop up around Earth Day, but the celebration shouldn't end there. The good news is that 2016 is the Centennial of the National Park Service, and a great reason to keep celebrating the planet all year long.

Florida is home to 12 national parks, which together with our state parks make up almost one-tenth of the state, or an area about the size of Connecticut.

From canoeing through the Everglades to walking along the shoreline of De Soto National Memorial just north of the Skyway, Florida's vast network of national parks provide an array of ecosystems to enjoy, including springs, caves, wetlands, seagrass beds, mangrove swamps, and even a portion of the only living coral reef in the continental U.S.

Yet for all their beauty and power to restore us, educate us, and make us healthier, far too many of our parks and monuments are threatened by budget cuts and privatization.

Thankfully, Sen. Bill Nelson has traditionally supported our public lands. I hope he will stand up and use his power to keep our public lands in public hands. We need him to ensure they are well-funded, properly maintained, and protected for the next 100 years and more!

Jennifer Rubiello, Environment Florida Saint Petersburg

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