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Contact: Damon Doumlele, 239-695-1158
Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
Big Cypress National Preserve Superintendent Pedro Ramos announced today the availability of the Final General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (GMP/WS/ORV Plan/EIS) for the Addition. Also available is a Biological Opinion prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act for the preferred alternative described in the GMP/WS/ORV Plan/EIS. Both documents may be viewed by clicking here.
The GMP/WS/ORV Plan/EIS provides a framework for management, public use, and development options for the Addition by the National Park Service (NPS) for the next 15 to 20 years. It includes detailed maps and narrative text that describe a no-action alternative, which represents current management of the Addition, and three action alternatives, including a preferred alternative. The action alternatives present a range of off-road vehicle (ORV) opportunities, lands being considered for wilderness proposal, and visitor facilities and experiences. Since the draft document was released for public comment in June 2009, the NPS has held four public meetings and hearings and received over 17,000 comments from agencies, organizations, tribes, and individuals. These comments were considered in modifying the draft to produce the final document. "The final planning document is the result of 11 years of intensive civic engagement and is representative of the diversity of input we received as well as the mandate from Congress when it established Big Cypress to be the first National Preserve in the nation. The preferred alternative offers a tremendous level of resource protection, while at the same time, it provides a broad range of recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, ORV access, biking and horseback riding," Ramos said. "Our attention will soon shift towards implementation, and we are counting on all our partners to come together, despite differences, so that the people of Florida and its visitors can finally enjoy the full range of recreational opportunities the Big Cypress Addition has to offer," he added.