ST. PETERSBURG — Despite strong criticism from members of his own party, Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Friday defended his administration's push to add new campgrounds with spaces for recreational vehicles in more than 50 state parks, including Dunedin's popular Honeymoon Island State Park.
"The reason we have parks is so people will use them," Scott said after giving a brief speech to the Florida Society of News Editors meeting at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort. "We have to make our parks available to people, with whatever amenities we can add to help people use the parks more."
State officials are pushing a plan to let private contractors design, build and operate new campsites in 56 state parks where camping now is not allowed. The campsites would have to accommodate not only tent camping but also popup trailers and RVs. The new campgrounds will also need roads, restrooms, bathhouses, playgrounds, electric connections, grills and other amenities, too.
The plan has sparked opposition from Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, and Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, as well as private RV park operators. A public hearing on the changes to Honeymoon Island is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Hale Senior Activity Center, 330 Douglas Ave., Dunedin.