News Cast 2/9

News Cast for February 9th:

COVID could be helping our state park

The Kissimmee Prairie State Park in Okeechobee has seen an increase in visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

People wanting to star gaze and see the night sky in the darkest part of Florida have been drawn to the park which received a dark sky designation a few years ago.

Park Manager Alex Creager said they have an area set aside just for viewing the stars.

“We were designated an international Dark Sky Park in 2016.  Since that designation we have seen a revenue increase of about one-third.  That to me is an indication of the increase in visitation we have seen.”

Creager said a new policy would allow people to come for 24 hours and leave campsites open to campers instead.

“People get camping reservations and a hotel room in town to come out here to enjoy the night sky but they don’t have any interest in sleeping out here.  We hope a 24 hour area open all the time would give people the opportunity to see the night sky out here and give others who want to camp the opportunity to camp.  Right now we stay at capacity in our camp ground for most of the year.”