Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park Budget Cuts

By: Danielle Sommerfeld Email
By: Danielle Sommerfeld Email

Vendors at the Wakulla Springs State Park may soon be packing up because of state budget cuts.

People have been visiting Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park for several decades, but now The Lodge, one of the park's main attractions, may be forced out of business.

A volunteer at the park says it's going be hard to see the Lodge shut down.

Linda Beckman says, "It's just such a sad feeling to think that one day I'll come and this building will be closed and all into disrepair."

Florida legislators asked state agencies to reduce their annual operating budgets by fifteen percent.

Resulting in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection having to close some state parks operated concessions.

Beckman says she has a solution, "If they could find a private vendor to run this building that would solve the problem."

According to the house and senate budget, the cut of the concessions will save 3.5 million dollars and cut about 24 jobs.

Florida department of environmental protection spokesperson Kristin Lock says, no final decisions have been made.

And the parks concessions is part of the budget cuts, they'll offer private vendors and opportunity to take over as soon as July.

The Wakulla Springs State Park and the boat tours will remain open to the public and is not included in the proposed cuts.

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  • by Jill @FACEArt.com on May 2, 2011 at 10:52 AM
    Visited the Springs for a birthday celebration with grown children yesterday. The water and cave are crystal clear. An employee at the Lodge said there is going to be a big meeting ("with the big-wigs on Wednesday." Is anyone planning a protest to the closing of Lodge? Probably Scott and team have a photo-op planned. The docks would be a good place to protest. Anyone interested?
  • by BuckStripes Location: DeLand on Apr 11, 2011 at 04:19 PM
    The Lodge is usually booked solid, and (apparently) turns a profit every year. In fact, the entire park might be self-sustaining, with various fees paid by very-loyal users. So, what does closing it prove? Probably that stupidity and arrogance thrive in TallyHoeTown, far more than is normal, under our current Ruling Class...
  • by CJ Location: Tallahassee on Apr 11, 2011 at 10:03 AM
    Sitting here looking at pictures from 60-65 years ago until to date taken at Wakulla Springs. Many fond memories.
  • by TMP Location: Tallahassee on Apr 11, 2011 at 07:46 AM
    This is a tragedy. I can't imagine this happening. I have been visiting this beloved historic landmark and park since I was 3 years old. What a horrible thing to have happen here. There has to be a way to fight this.
  • by WakullaRez Location: Wakulla on Apr 10, 2011 at 02:57 PM
    There are many more than 24.5 people working at the Lodge. When you add in restaurant/wait staff, gift shop folks, maids, managers, custodians, etc., it adds up to about 60 people. Many folks, their families, and even local businesses that support the Lodge, restaurant, and gift shop will be affected. I can only pray that if a private vendor does bid and win, he/she will consider helping all the folks displaced by the turnover. It will impact this community. What a shame...
  • by Anonymous on Apr 9, 2011 at 05:37 PM
  • by Disgusted Location: Tallahassee on Apr 9, 2011 at 11:42 AM
    That is the ONLY State Park in Florida that has a Lodge; so it is historical. Cut 24 jobs with it? All this Governor Scott has done is cut, cut, cut jobs; yet he ran on a platform of CREATING thousands of jobs. I have yet to see even ONE job he has created. Isn't it our right to 'change' the government when it isn't doing what it was elected to do? I think maybe the time has come for peaceful demonstrations in Tallahassee. Get everyone to come up here who is not at all happy with this Governor. I think we should also ask for his resignation; when you say one thing during your campaign, then do the opposite of that when you get elected, you aren't representing the people who elected you. Resign, Governor Scott.
  • by wakullalady Location: crawfordville on Apr 9, 2011 at 11:22 AM
    Seems to me if they can fire all the directors and above in all the agencies it would be common sense to turn over the restaurant and hotel staff if they aren't making ends meet. That would put an end to the stealing if that is happening there. Also letting the lodge self manage their budget so they can show their profit and then pull the end of fiscal year profits and at that time put them into the global park system. How it's managed now is hard to show it can be self sufficient. Putting a private vendor in there? Only under restrictions and if they profit share but that won't happen
  • by steve Location: tall on Apr 9, 2011 at 09:30 AM
    @Steve, hello from 'lower case' steve. What kind of society? It hurts to look around and watch things we knew (I am about the same age) disappear. The good thing is the park and lodge are physical, and if it gets closed or anything, they still can't just remove it. @ Gramps- you have the word I was looking for- disposable. Seems Fire Marshall Bill is churning up everything, looking under every rock for $$.
  • by Please keep her open! Location: Georgia on Apr 9, 2011 at 08:08 AM
    I agree with Steve: My husband and I spent our honeymoon here in the winter of 1974. The kind lodge staff had decorated the lobby for us young newly weds which made us feel very special. The next morning a sweet mama and baby deer were sleeping below our window. This place was so romanic. We tell our story when we visit with our kids and grandkids to beautiful Wakulla Springs. These types of treasures cannot be replaced. Governor Scott and FL Legislaure, "Please find a way to keep her open and not aution off to private bidders". My husband and I have plannned to spend our Golden 50 year Wedding Anniversity boarding at the Edwin Ball Wakulla Springs Lodge, enjoying its tranquil and awesome nature.
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