Thank you for taking the time to share your comments about the sign at Tarkiln Bayou Preserve and the inaccurate information shown on the website. An email complaint was received October 21, 2010 about the sign that you are referencing at Tarkiln Bayou. Assistant Park Manager Rick Argo responded to the complaint with the following information:
“Thank you for contacting us to clarify the rules and regulations for the park. If your primary question is whether or not you can lawfully carry a concealed weapon while on park property, the answer is yes, as long as you have the permit in your possession. (Reference: http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/weapons/index.html
Regarding the rule as posted on the sign, Florida State Parks operate under Florida Administrative Code 62D “OPERATION OF DIVISION RECREATION AREAS AND FACILITIES” which states:
Section 62D-2.014 Activities and Recreation rule 10:
Hunting and Firearms. Hunting, trapping or the pursuit of wildlife is prohibited on all state park property, except in Reserves, as authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Weapons shall at all times be in possession of a responsible party or properly secured within or to a vehicle or temporary housing, which shall include motor homes, travel trailers, recreational vehicles, campers, tents, or other enclosed structures, while in state parks. Properly secured means the weapon shall be locked away and not accessible to minors, and if in a tent means the weapon shall be secured in a locked container. No person shall use or openly display in any state park weapons such as firearms of any type, air rifles, spring guns, cross bows, bows and arrows, gigs (except in areas where gigs may be legally used for saltwater fishing), sling shots, electronic weapons, devices which fire a dart or projectile, or any other forms of weapons or trapping devices potentially dangerous to wildlife or human safety except when such weapons or traps are used for resource management purposes as authorized in this subsection. Shooting weapons into park areas from beyond park boundaries is prohibited. The Division may authorize the control of nuisance animals and may remove all nuisance or exotic animals from parks by trapping and other necessary means for park resource management purposes. Such authorization shall be in the form of a letter of authorization, license, permit, or contract negotiated by the parties or made pursuant to an advertised bid by the Division. Authorization may be obtained in the same manner as stated in subsection 62D-2.013(7), F.A.C., herein.
That said, there was a recent addition/change to Florida Statue section 790.25(3)(h) which now states that persons are allowed to lawfully display firearms while they are engaged in fishing, or camping or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition.
Park visitors must properly store firearms while not engaged in the above activities.
If you have any additional questions, I will do my best to answer them or refer you to someone who can.”
The timing of your email is impeccable as I will be at Tarkiln Bayou tomorrow and will personally check to insure that the “Firearms Prohibited” wording on all park signs has been removed. As for any signage associated with an Escambia County ordinance that would prohibit lawful carrying of a firearm on park property, I am not aware of it. I have also looked at the Florida State Parks website link to the rules section that you provided. This is an old picture and I have emailed the person in charge of updating the website to have it replaced.
I apologize for the length of this email but I wanted to make sure that I fully addressed your comments. If I can be of any other assistant please let me know.
Assistant Bureau Chief
Florida Division of Recreation & Parks
Department of Environmental Protection
4620 State Park Lane