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    Everglades

    National Park Florida

Park seeks public comment on the General Management Plan Draft Alternatives for Everglades National Park

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Date: May 24, 2007
Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Fred Herling, 305-242-7704

Homestead, Florida. 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. As part of the process of developing a GMP, a Preliminary Alternatives newsletter has just been published. The document is available for review and comment, and public workshops have been scheduled for the first two weeks of June.

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.

"We have received over 6000 comments from members of the community through public meetings and written comments during the planning process. I have heard firsthand from many of you what a special place Everglades National Park is and how much you care about the Park. As we approach the Park's 60th anniversary, we look forward to continuing to work with you in this planning effort and trust that with your involvement, Everglades National Park will continue to be an integral part of the rich cultural and natural history of south Florida and provide a unique visitor experience for another 60 years," stated Superintendent Kimball.

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 to learn more about the project, view or download the newsletter and comment form, and submit comments via the internet.

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 fred_herling@nps.gov.

-NPS

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