Tallahassee, FL — Governor Ron DeSantis highlighted the record-breaking success of his three-month Great Outdoors Initiative, providing 50% discounts on Gold Sportsman hunting and fishing licenses and Annual State Park Passes. First announced on October 14, 2023, the Great Outdoors Initiative encouraged Floridians to get outdoors and explore Florida’s natural resources by saving Florida families money. The discount lasted through January 13, 2024, and was the highest discount ever provided for these licenses and passes in Florida history. More than 75,000 Gold Sportsman licenses totaling $24 million and more than 55,000 state park passes totaling $2.86 million were sold during the initiative. More than 23,000 of the hunting and fishing licenses purchased were for first time license holders.
“Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World and is home to some of the best recreational lands in the country for Florida families to enjoy,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The success of this initiative is impressive and I am happy to see so many families take advantage of these savings to enjoy our great outdoors.”
The more than 75,000 sportsman licenses sold through Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) totaled $24 million in sales, representing an increase of over 400% compared to the 18,300 sportsman licenses sold during this same period last year. The collective interest, sales and participation highlights the initiative’s impressive, statewide success and further underscores the importance outdoor recreation plays within Florida’s overall economy.
The more than 55,000 annual state park passes sold through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) breaks down to nearly 15,000 individual passes and more than 40,000 family passes. This is more than four times the number of annual passes sold during this same period last year.
“I want to thank Governor DeSantis for establishing the Great Outdoors initiative between us and FWC to highlight Florida’s natural spaces,” said DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “It’s our hope that everyone gets outside in the coming year and discovers firsthand what makes Florida so special.”
“Since October, over 75,000 people have taken advantage of the Great Outdoors Initiative by purchasing a license that will support conservation and provide an incredible opportunity to enjoy the most beautiful state to live in and recreate,” said FWC Executive Director Roger Young.
At a time when soaring inflation is adversely affecting families across the nation, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 23-209, which directed DEP and FWC to offer a significant 50% discount on Florida State Parks annual entrance passes and FWC Gold Sportsman hunting and fishing licenses, respectively. These savings helped make the great outdoors more accessible to families looking to enjoy Florida’s natural resources.
In addition to creating and maintaining more than 50,000 jobs and benefitting the state economically last fiscal year to the tune of $3.6 billion, the Florida Park Service boasts the honor of being the only four-time winner of the Gold Medal distinction which recognizes the nation’s best park system.
Legislation signed by Governor DeSantis in 2023 also affords Floridians the first chance to reserve campsites. Starting January 1, 2024, Florida residents may now make campsite or cabin reservations up to 11 months in advance. Non-Florida residents may make campsite or cabin reservations up to 10 months in advance.
Florida is renowned as the Fishing Capital of the World, and FWC offers freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses for experiencing the best of coastal and inland fishing options, along with unique hunting opportunities. The economic impact on our state through these opportunities is tremendous with nearly $15 billion contributing to our state’s economy.
Governor DeSantis wholly encourages Floridians and visitors alike to experience our state’s natural resources, and supports activities such as fishing, hunting and hiking that are family traditions for millions of Floridians.
To find a state park near you, visit: FloridaStateParks.org.
To find more information on fishing and hunting licenses in Florida, visit: MyFWC.com/License/Recreational.