JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Across the country, cities are leading observances and celebrations honoring the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. Jacksonville is no exception as it marks the occasion with the release of its first-ever parks directory and activities guide.
The nation’s largest park system, covering nearly 400 parks and recreational spaces, the city of Jacksonville is a recognized leader in the preservation and development of quality parks and recreational spaces. Jacksonville is one of only 10 cities throughout the nation designated as a model city for the NPS Urban Agenda initiative, an effort aimed at strengthening the connection between people living in urban areas and parks.
“We are so fortunate to have such a large and unique park system here in Jacksonville,” Mayor Lenny Curry said. “In addition to recreational offerings and environmental benefits, our parks are a great way to build and promote healthy lifestyles. They are a tremendous asset to our city with diverse and robust offerings and amenities that families and people of all ages can enjoy.”
The National Park Service was established on Aug. 25, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act, creating a federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting 35 national parks and monuments at that time. Today, the NPS system oversees more than 400 areas covering more than 84 million acres throughout the nation. This includes Jacksonville’s oldest national park, the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, proudly known as one of the last unspoiled coastal wetlands on the Atlantic Coast sharing 6,000 years of human history.
In addition to Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Jacksonville is home to hundreds of traditional neighborhood, state and regional parks as well as 22 community centers located throughout the city.
Additionally, citizens can explore any of Jacksonville’s 15 environmental parks, pursue personal fitness goals by working out at one of several JaxParks fitness centers and gymnasiums, and swim at one of more than 30 swimming pools. JaxParks is also home to seven specialty parks, each with its own unique attractions including hiking and biking trails, a dedicated skateboarding facility, camping areas, waterfront amenities and even a museum.