Florida's natural environment is one of the State's most important and unique assets. The list of natural resources available to Floridians and our visitors is extensive and includes the amenities listed below.
- Atlantic Ocean
- Gulf of Mexico
- Twelve National Parks, including the following:
- Everglades National Park
- Biscayne National Park
- Dry Tortugas National Park
- Big Cypress National Preserve
- Canaveral National Seashore
- Gulf Islands National Seashore
- Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
- Five National Monuments, Memorials, and Corridors with a Historical Focus
- 160 Florida State Parks totaling 707,736 acres
- Scenic Byways
- A wide range of local parks and trails
The Department of Economic Opportunity's role regarding the State's natural resources is twofold. First, the Department promotes the integral role that ecotourism plays in Florida’s economy. For more information regarding the economic benefit of ecotourism, see The Economic Benefit of Ecotourism. Also, for examples of how local governments in Florida are capitalizing on ecotourism opportunities through their comprehensive plans, see Comprehensive Plans and Ecotourism.
Second, the Department reviews amendments to local government comprehensive plans. One of the required elements, or chapters, of the comprehensive plan is the conservation element. The conservation element creates a planning framework to protect a local government’s natural resources, including air, water, water recharge areas, wetlands, waterwells, estuarine marshes, soils, beaches, shores, flood plains, rivers, bays, lakes, harbors, forests, fisheries and wildlife, marine habitat, minerals, and other natural and environmental resources. For more information, see Conservation Elements.