Over the last nine decades, Miami-Dade Parks has evolved into 270 parks; six golf courses; more than 10 miles of beaches; six marinas; campgrounds; pools; 13,573 acres of land, attractions like Zoo Miami, the Deering Estate, and the Crandon Park Tennis Center, and more making it the third largest county park system in the United States, and one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world. Supporting its efforts is the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, a non-profit 501(c) (3).
In 1929, A.D. “Doug” Barnes became the first employee and later became known as the father of Miami-Dade Parks when he persuaded Commodore Matheson to donate 80 acres of land for the first county park, Matheson Hammock. While the world was struggling during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Miami-Dade park system was beginning to take shape largely in part because of President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program which provided manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources (parks). These men cleared land, engineered paths and roadways, dredged canals, quarried stones, and built the iconic structures that would symbolize our heritage parks.
Today, Miami-Dade Parks has created an award-winning park system that is more than just playgrounds and athletic fields. With high-quality out-of-school, sports-development, and summer-camp programs, as well as activities for active older adults and people with disabilities, nature centers and the preservation of national areas, the department’s foundation rests on three its pillars: Health & Fitness, Conservations & Stewardship and Placemaking.Learn more about Parks