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Friday, June 14, 2024

UF students seeking to celebrate Veterans Day outdoors can visit five state parks in Alachua County for free Tuesday.

The free park access is a way for the state park system to show their thanks to veterans, said Martha Robinson, Florida Division of Recreation and Parks spokeswoman. This is the sixth year the parks have offered free entry for the holiday, she said, as many people get the day off work.

“We want to encourage them to spend time outdoors enjoying nature and also be reflective of the meaning of the holiday,” she said.

Luke Lemos, a UF chemical engineering freshman, said he looks forward to visiting Ichetucknee Springs State Park.

“I think it’s very important that we enjoy all the advantages that we’re offered with our parks,” Lemos, 18, said. “We’ve got all this beautiful nature that we haven’t seen, and we should go see it.”

Most state parks including Ichetucknee Springs and Paynes Prairie Preserve charge $6 for entrance.

Robinson said she hopes the free entry will allow people who haven’t been to visit and return later with friends and family.

“I think once you become acquainted with something, you’re more likely to try it again,” she said, “especially if you enjoyed it your first time.”

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