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Contact: Gary Bremen, 305-230-1144, x007
Due to expected severe marine weather associated with the outer bands of Hurricane Irene, Biscayne National Park is taking a cautious approach in order to protect public property, as well as the safety of visitors and employees.
Effective at noon on Wednesday, August 24, 2011, all park islands (including Boca Chita Key, Elliott Key, and Adams Key) are closed to the public. Park waters remain open, but mariners are strongly encouraged to monitor NOAA weather reports and err on the side of caution. The park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center and park headquarters (on the mainland, 9 miles East of Homestead) will remain open. The island closure will remain in effect until further notice.
After suffering severe damage in 1992's Hurricane Andrew, the park implemented a detailed plan for adequately protecting life and property, while at the same time taking into account employee's needs to prepare their own homes and families. The plan has been fine-tuned at every approaching storm, and currently calls for preparations to begin at 72 hours before potential landfall. These preparations include not only securing and shuttering buildings, but also removing the park's entire fleet of boats (over 25 vessels) to an inland location.