Flamingo Commercial Services Plan Approved
Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Fred Herling, 305-242-7704
The National Park Service (NPS) has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Flamingo Commercial Services Plan (CSP) project. Southeast Regional Director David Vela approved the FONSI based on the environmental assessment (EA) recommended by Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan B. Kimball. With the environmental assessment and associated compliance completed, the park can now focus on the rebuilding effort described in the plan.
Strong public involvement played an important role in developing the Flamingo CSP. The approved FONSI is based on Alternative D, identified as the Preferred Alternative, when it was released for public review and comment between April 14, and May 15, 2008.
Superintendent Kimball is pleased with the outcome of the planning process and the cooperative spirit in which it was developed. "I’m eager to now focus on bringing the plan to reality since I have heard frequently from so many of you what a special place Flamingo is, how much you care about it, and how important it is to the community and those that care about Everglades National Park. I’m committed to the challenge of reestablishing Flamingo, once again, as a premier destination and ‘gateway’ to Florida Bay, the park’s backcountry and the Wilderness Waterway".
Key features of the Final Plan
The Final Plan provides for an enhanced mix of commercial services for land- and water-based accommodations, education and recreation activities. The Plan emphasizes eco-friendly development concepts and sustainable design features that take into account Flamingo’s location in a high hazard flood zone. The mix of overnight lodging and facilities described in Alternative D reflects these critical issues and the unique market conditions at Flamingo.
The Plan calls for a single, elevated lodge/restaurant; elevated cottages; houseboats; eco-tents; additional services in the marina area; two backcountry chickees in Florida Bay; a new amphitheater; and new park and concessioner housing and maintenance facilities to efficiently support the operations. The Plan also includes the RV campground remaining at T Loop with electrical hookups added; a new boat transfer service at the Buttonwood Canal plug; a wider array of guided tours, programs and livery services; provides for a modest environmentally-friendly pool at the lodge; and continues access to Eco Pond. During peak season a Flamingo circulator shuttle would transport visitors to key destinations and a "Yellow Bike" system would provide overnight guests with enhanced access to the marina, lodging and other visitor services, while reducing the frequency of private vehicle use.
The new site design will allow the Flamingo area to function more efficiently for visitors, the concessioner and the park, while enhancing pedestrian and bicycle access throughout the area with new trails and pathways. With redevelopment focused on a reduced building footprint, approximately 50 acres would be restored to natural conditions. In addition to enhancing long-popular recreational activities (boating, fishing, paddling, hiking, backcountry exploration, wildlife viewing and photography), Flamingo will become a more prominent educational venue for telling the important stories of Flamingo and the Everglades: Flamingo’s colorful natural and cultural history, the long-term goals and challenges for Everglades restoration, and offering learning opportunities regarding issues like climate change, sea level rise and sustainable development.
The Plan’s financial analysis provides guidance on the numbers and sizes of these facilities, while emphasizing flexibility so that the park and future partners and concessioners can be provide needed facilities and services in a manner that offers a strong, viable business opportunity.
For more information about the plan or to obtain a copy of the FONSI, visit the Everglades National Park website: www.nps.gov/ever and under "quicklinks" go to the Flamingo Commercial Serviced Plan, or contact Fred Herling, Project Manager at 305-242-7704 or e-mail us.
Did You Know?
The Everglades used to span from Lake Okeechobee in central Florida all the way down to Florida Bay. Now only 25% of the historic Everglades remains, which is being protected by the National Park.