Everglades National Park Hosting Additional Public Meetings on Long Term Vision for the Park
Contact: Fred Herling, Park Planner, 305-242-7704
Contact: General Park Information, 305-242-7700
Contact: Mary Plumb, Public Affairs Officer (Acting), 305-242-7714
Everglades National Park has scheduled two additional public meetings on its Draft General Management Plan for April 16 (Marathon) and April 17 (Key West). Three public meetings were recently held in which important input was provided by the public and four meetings previously announced will take place next week. Based on interest from Congressman Joe Garcia and constituents in the middle and lower Keys, meetings will also be held in Marathon on April 16 and Key West on April 17. These meetings are being held throughout south Florida to facilitate public comment on the park's Draft General Management Plan / East Everglades Wilderness Study / Environmental Impact Statement (Draft GMP). The Draft GMP was released February 27 for public review, and public comment is requested by Sunday, May 12, 2013.
According to Superintendent Dan Kimball, "We are very pleased with the large turnout at the recent meetings and the great input and discussion between park managers and the public. We're looking forward to the remaining meetings being equally valuable in helping to see how we may strengthen the final plan."
The Draft GMP provides broad guidance and describes desired conditions to be achieved and maintained regarding natural and cultural resource protection, appropriate types and levels of visitor activities, and facility improvements and development. Also included is a wilderness study for the East Everglades Addition (an area added to the park in 1989, after the park's original 1978 wilderness designation). The Draft GMP is available for review and comment at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ EVER (then go to the "Open for Comment" link). A limited number of paper copies and compact disks (CDs) of the plan are also available upon request by contacting Everglades National Park at 305-242-7700.
There are six upcoming opportunities for the public to participate in meetings in south Florida (meetings have already been held in Homestead, Islamorada, and Everglades City). The four meetings the week of April 8 are: Dania Beach (April 8), Naples (April 9), Key Largo (April 10) and Miami (April 11). The April 8 meeting will also be webcast live, so anyone with an Internet connection can view the proceedings using the link noted above. The additional meetings are in Marathon (April 16) and Key West (April 17).
The public meetings are from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. and organized in three parts:
· Open House - opportunities for the public to review Draft GMP materials, meet with National Park Service (NPS) staff, and provide comments
· NPS Presentation - overview of key features of the Draft GMP
· Formal Comment/East Everglades Wilderness Hearing - comment session that allows the public to comment on the Draft GMP and the East Everglades Wilderness Study (session will be transcribed or recorded)
After the comment period ends on May 12, public input will be reviewed and analyzed, and adjustments to the plan will be made. The Final GMP and Record of Decision will be issued in 2014.
Schedule of remaining public meetings (all 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.):