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Big Cypress National Preserve Superintendent Pedro Ramos announced today that the Draft General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (Draft GMP/WS/ORV Plan/EIS) for the Addition is available for public review. The document can be viewed, and comments submitted electronically by clicking here.
The Draft GMP/WS/ORV Plan/EIS provides a framework for management, use, and development options for the Addition by the National Park Service for the next 15 to 20 years. It includes detailed maps and narrative text that describe a no-action alternative, which represents the way the Addition is currently managed, and three action alternatives, including a preferred alternative. The action alternatives present a range of off-road vehicle opportunities, lands being considered for wilderness proposal, and visitor facilities and experiences. "The preferred alternative was developed from comments received from members of the public, American Indian tribes, and other federal, state, and local agencies throughout the planning process and incorporates elements of the other alternatives that people liked best. We are very interested in learning what people think are the strengths and weaknesses of the preferred alternative, since we believe it represents a good balance among the wide range of interests people have in the Addition," said Ramos.
The public comment period for the Draft GMP/WS/ORV Plan/EIS will be open until September 30, 2009. There are numerous ways for the public to provide their comments on this important phase of the planning process, including submitting comments online by clicking here, sending comments through the mail, or providing comments at the public meetings scheduled for August 2009.
Superintendent Ramos has invited all interested parties to attend any of three public meetings on August 10, 11, and 12, 2009. Each of these meetings will include a formal public hearing to take public comment on the lands being considered for wilderness proposal as part of the general management plan, in accordance with the requirements of the Wilderness Act and federal regulations. Maps of the GMP alternatives and wilderness proposals are included in the plan and will be available for review at the public meetings. Members of the public who wish to provide testimony will be given an opportunity to speak.
Monday, August 10, 2009 Miccosukee Resort and Convention Center
4:00 – 7:30 p.m. 500 SW 177th Ave.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009 Edison State College
4:00 – 7:30 p.m. 7007 Lely Cultural Pkwy.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009 Everglades City Community Center
4:00 – 7:30 p.m. 205 Buckner Ave.
Everglades City, FL
"The publication of the Draft GMP/WS/ORV Plan/EIS is the final opportunity we have to hear from the public, and we encourage everyone to provide their input at this very important phase of the planning process. A great deal of time, effort, and energy has gone into this effort, and a thorough, detailed public review of the alternatives and their impacts is crucial to finalizing the plan. My staff and I are committed to developing a final plan that provides a variety of recreational opportunities while continuing to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of the Addition. As always, we look forward to hearing from you and encourage you to attend one of the public meetings in August," said Ramos. The public comment period closes on September 30, 2009, and comments received by this date will be most helpful in developing the final plan.
For your convenience, comments may be submitted online by clicking here, or by writing to us at the following address:
Big Cypress National Preserve Planning Team
P.O. Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287
For more information, please call (239) 695-1158