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Dade Battlefield Park could be history

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By Larry Clifton

Dade Historical Battlefield Park in Bushnell is on a list of 53 state parks the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed closing, according to DEP spokesperson Kristin Lock.
In their legislative budget requests for fiscal year 2011-2012, all state agencies were asked to reduce their annual operating costs by 15 percent, which amounts to $52 million for the DEP. Officials within that agency decided $11.3 million in budget cuts could be obtained by closing public access to Dade Battlefield Historic Park and 52 other state parks.
The parks were chosen “based on their visitation numbers during the fiscal year 2009-10 and because they do not offer camping or other overnight accommodations,” according to Lock.
“While this was a difficult decision, the proposal reflects DEP’s effort to reduce expenditures while continuing to provide recreational opportunities for park visitors,” said Lock.
Every January, under the oaks of Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, history lovers gather to commemorate the battle that started the Second Seminole War. On December 28, 1835, Indian warriors ambushed 108 U.S. soldiers at this site, and only three soldiers survived. The 80-acre park protects not only a historic battlefield, but also the natural communities as they existed during the war. Dade Park is the site of other significant events throughout the year as well as family outings.
Feb. 19 and 20 is “Rally in the Park.” Where a show of Tin Can Tourist vintage recreation vehicles and various muscle cars will be on display. Food vendors will be onsite as well as music at the bandstand.
March 19 and 20, the Dade Battlefield “Music in the Park” event is scheduled. This event will feature blue grass bands from all over.
State Senator Paula Dockery’s office acknowledged a DEP email had informed the senator of the proposal two months ago. When contacted by phone, a Dockery’s office issued a statement saying the senator was “adamantly opposed to the closing of the parks.”
Representative Marlene O’Toole said she had not seen the list yet. Included in the list of parks are two other local parks, Fort Cooper State Park in Inverness and Crystal River Archaeological State Park in Crystal River.

g to provide recreational opportunities for park visitors,” said Lock.
Every January, under the oaks of Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, history lovers gather to commemorate the battle that started the Second Seminole War. On December 28, 1835, Indian warriors ambushed 108 U.S. soldiers at this site, and only three soldiers survived. The 80-acre park protects not only a historic battlefield, but also the natural communities as they existed during the war. Dade Park is the site of other significant events throughout the year as well as family outings.
Feb. 19 and 20 is “Rally in the Park.” Where a show of Tin Can Tourist vintage recreation vehicles and various muscle cars will be on display. Food vendors will be onsite as well as music at the bandstand.
March 19 and 20, the Dade Battlefield “Music in the Park” event is scheduled. This event will feature blue grass bands from all over.
State Senator Paula Dockery’s office acknowledged a DEP email had informed the senator of the proposal two months ago. When contacted by phone, a Dockery’s office issued a statement saying the senator was “adamantly opposed to the closing of the parks.”
Representative Marlene O’Toole said she had not seen the list yet. Included in the list of parks are two other local parks, Fort Cooper State Park in Inverness and Crystal River Archaeological State Park in Crystal River.