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Contact: Damon Doumlele, 239-695-1158
Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
The National Park Service (NPS) will hold a public meeting in Broward County on the Big Cypress National Preserve Addition Lands Draft General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (Draft GMP/WS/ORV Plan/EIS). The meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 22 from 4:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center, 250 Racquet Club Road, Weston, Florida 33326
"We have decided to hold an additional meeting in Broward County due to the high level of interest we have experienced in the draft document." said Pedro Ramos, superintendent of the Preserve. The NPS wants to ensure the public has the opportunity to participate and this fourth and final meeting in South Florida assures that commitment is met.
The meeting 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.
The public comment period for the Draft GMP/WS/ORV Plan/EIS remains 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 to - Big Cypress National Preserve Planning Team, P.O. Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225-0287; or providing comments at the public meeting
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 the intent of the legislation that created the Preserve and a good balance among the wide range of interests people have in the Addition," said Ramos.
"This will be 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 the public meeting." said Ramos.