In honor of National Public Lands Day, Sweetwater Wetlands Park will offer free admission Saturday.
It is the first time the 125-acre park, located at 325 SW Williston Road, has waived admission fees to celebrate the holiday, which was established in 1994, said Geoffrey Parks, the program coordinator for natural resource management at the park.
The hope, Parks said, is that the deal will encourage people to develop an appreciation for nature and take advantage of the public lands available to them in Gainesville.
“It’s a park that’s really special and really unique in our community,” Parks said. “It’s something that we are really lucky to have here.”
JP Bremer, a 21-year-old UF political science senior, said the holiday should serve as a reminder of how important it is to conserve nature.
“We have to keep in mind that we share our land with a lot of other creatures,” Bremer said. “It’s selfish to take all of it for ourselves, and it’s important to have land available for all of the animals and critters.”
Bremer said he has never been to Sweetwater, but he said he is planning to visit the park to celebrate the holiday before driving to Cedar Key to go kayaking.
As a fan of hiking and watersports, Bremer said he feels his best when outside.
“When you’re out there with nothing but nature, you’re thinking about what you’re going to eat next, where you’re going to sleep and what you’re going to see along the way,” Bremer said. “I forget about everything that’s tearing my mind up from being at school.”