Park extends deadline for public comment on the General Management Plan Preliminary Alternatives for Everglades National Park
Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Fred Herling, 305-242-7704
Homestead, FloridaSuperintendent Dan Kimball announced that the park has extended the public comment period on its recently distributed General Management Plan Preliminary Alternatives document from 45 to 75 days. The comment period will continue through July 31, 2007. The public comment period has been extended to ensure that the public has adequate time to review all information available on the plan and planning process, in addition to new maps that clarify options in Alternatives B and C for a portion of Northeast Florida Bay and in the Everglades City/Chokoloskee area. These new maps are available on the park planning website (http://parkplanning.nps.gov) and replace those that were distributed in a newsletter at the end of May. Copies of the newsletter supplement with copies of the maps have been mailed to those on the park mailing list.
Since 2003, Everglades National Park has been engaged in a planning process to update a General Management Plan (GMP) that will guide Park management for the next 20 years. “Everglades National Park has not had a comprehensive plan since its 1979 master plan. A new management plan is needed to assist the park in addressing the many complex issues that have arisen since that time,” said Superintendent Dan Kimball. The GMP will be wide-ranging, addressing critical issues such as management of Florida Bay and the East Everglades Expansion Area, as well as emerging challenges such as the impacts of the high cost-of-living and housing on the park’s ability to recruit and retain park employees. Of course, the ability to fulfill the park’s mission of protecting the unique natural and cultural resources of Everglades National Park so that current and future generations can enjoy, understand and appreciate this special place is the cornerstone of the guidance the GMP will be offering.
Superintendent Kimball emphasizes that” we are at the preliminary alternatives stage of the GMP process; many options for managing the park that have been suggested since initiation of the GMP have been incorporated into the preliminary alternatives. The park’s primary interest at this point in time is to obtain your recommendations and feedback on the concepts and ideas that have been incorporated into the preliminary alternatives.” Further Superintendent Kimball stated that “public comments will be carefully considered by park staff and used to re-evaluate and revise the preliminary alternatives and, as appropriate, develop new alternatives for inclusion in the draft GMP that will also be provided to the public for review and comment in 2008.”
There will be 6 public workshops from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., with two separate, repeated sessions at each workshop (5:00 – 6:30 p.m. and
6:30– 8:00 p.m.). Overview presentations will be given at 5:15 and 6:45 p.m at each workshop. Before and after the presentations, there will be opportunities to learn more about the preliminary alternatives and provide your ideas and comments directly to Park staff.
Workshop Dates and Locations
June 5 South Dade Regional Library, 10750 SW 211th Street, Miami, FL 33189
June 6 Everglades City School, 415 School Drive, Everglades City, FL 34139
June 7 Key Largo Holiday Inn, 99701 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037
June 12 Holiday Isle Resort, 8401 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL 33036
June 13 International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame, 300 Gulfstream Way, Dania Beach, FL 33004
June 14 Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, Everglades National Park, 40001 SR 9336, Homestead, FL 33034
The public comment period closes July 31, 2007. If you cannot attend one of the workshops, there are other ways to participate and provide public comment:
Visit the NPS Planning website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov to learn more about the project, view or download the newsletter and comment form, and submit comments via the internet. Simply select “Everglades National Park” from the drop down box and then follow the link for the General Management Plan/East Everglades Wilderness Study.
Submit written comments to: National Park Service, Everglades Planning Team, P.O. Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225-0287
To receive a copy of the GMP – Preliminary Alternatives newsletter by mail, please call the Park at 305-242-7700. If you are prompted by the voicemail system, press 2 at the 1st prompt and press 5 at the second prompt to leave your mailing address information.
Following the public comment period, the planning team will analyze all comments received and finalize the alternatives for inclusion in the Draft GMP / East Everglades Wilderness Study (EEWS) / Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). It is expected that this document will be released in mid-2008. Completion of the Final GMP / EEWS / EIS and Record of Decision is expected in 2009.
“I invite your participation and look forward to hearing from you in the next step of developing this plan,” said Superintendent Kimball. “There are many ways for you to provide input, through written comments, oral input at the public meetings, and via the internet." For more information or questions, please contact Fred Herling, Everglades National Park Planner at 305-242-7704 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did You Know?
The “high and dry” tree islands of the Everglades are called tropical hardwood hammocks. The park marks a significant edge of the northern limits of many subtropical plants and the southern limits of many temperate plants. This provides quite a unique and beautiful landscape.