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Is this the museum’s end?

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By Ada Lang

For the second time in as many years, the Cedar Key State Museum is under scrutiny and consideration for “temporary” closure. The announcement came earlier this week that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection had determined that in order to meet the 15 percent budget reduction required for

the new fiscal year, it would have to close a total of 53 parks and facilities around the state, including several in the Levy and Alachua County areas.

The museum is normally closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, although visitors can walk through the property and peer into the windows of both the main building and the St. Clair Whitman house that was moved to the property and restored to accurately portray daily life in the 1920’s in Cedar Key. Additionally, there is a short nature trail with benches that leads down to the water and offers a great spot to launch kayaks.

Cedar Key State Museum State Park and Wacasassa Bay Preserve State Park near Cedar Key offer visitors two additional reasons to come to the area. Other significant destinations, such as Dudley Farm Historic State Park in Newberry and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in Cross Creek, appeal to the history buffs who also enjoy Cedar Key’s history. Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park and San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park near Gainesville also appeal to nature lovers that might visit Wacassassa.

The definition of “temporary closing” is unknown, however DEP determined that facilities which had no

overnight or camping accomodations and received under 60,000 visitors a year were fair game to the possibility of a closure. However, whether these proposed cuts make it to Governor Rick Scott’s final 2011-2012 budget remains to be seen.

Representative Leonard Bembry and Senator Charlie Dean could not be reached for comment in time before the

deadline of this article.