Florida State Parks launch eco-friendly boats at Wakulla Springs

New electric riverboats launch at Wakulla Springs State Park
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 9:07 PM EST
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WAKULLA SPRINGS, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida State Parks are taking the effort to preserve natural Florida to a new level. A new fleet of hybrid-electric boats is now running at Wakulla Springs State Park.

The boat tours at Wakulla Springs State Park are just as popular as spotting the birds and gators in the river.

“We want to be as eco-friendly as we can be,” Florida State Parks Director Chuck Hatcher said.

Hatcher said the old boats at Wakulla Springs were at the end of their useful life and this was the perfect opportunity to have the boats fit the goal of every state park in Florida.

“Our job is to protect the resources and that’s what we do every day. Our mission is to provide resource-based recreation while preserving, interrupting, and restoring our natural resources,” Hatcher said.

One of the benefits of having the hybrid-electric motor on the boats is the ride is quieter so people only hear the sounds of the tour guide and nature.

“It means they don’t have to off the motor to hear the sounds of the park. It is quiet already,” Florida State Parks Foundation president Kathleen Brennan said.

The Florida State Parks Foundation helped pay for one of the boats with money it gets from the foundation’s specialty plate.

Senator Pro-Tem Dennis Baxley, (R) Ocala, said he pushed for that plate because the state parks have become one of Florida’s many attractions.

“They become park fans and all kinds of different perspectives of life. We all have a reason to love the parks and they have a perfect apparatus to expand,” Sen. Baxley said.

The State Parks Foundation said it’s also working on putting more LED lights and water bottle filling stations in state parks across Florida.