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Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Homestead, Florida. Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan Kimball announced today that Carl Ross Key is now open for day use. Carl Ross Key has been closed since last December to provide protection for one of Florida Bay’s most significant roseate spoonbill colonies. With completion of a successful spoonbill nesting season, Carl Ross Key has been reopened for day use, similar to last year. Boaters should use caution in approaching the Key since the historic channel into the Key has changed significantly as a result of the recent hurricanes.
Due to the effects of hurricanes in 2005, camping is no longer available on Carl Ross Key. Superintendent Kimball stated that “we are exploring options to provide additional camping opportunities in the near future in the Johnson Key area of Florida Bay to replace camping facilities no longer available at Carl Ross.”
In a continuing effort to protect Roseate Spoonbills in Florida Bay, Everglades National Park closed Carl Ross Key to public entry during the winter nesting season beginning December 23, 2006. Spoonbill nesting in Florida Bay has been threatened by hurricane damage, human activity, and unnatural predation. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma tore apart Carl Ross Key and pruned the protective tree cover on nearby Sandy and Frank Keys, home to two major spoonbill nesting colonies. Both Sandy and Frank Keys have been permanently closed to public entry for more than 20 years to protect these nesting colonies. With less protective foliage, nesting spoonbills can be easily spooked by passing boats and other human activity, prompting them to leave their nests and expose their young to predator crows. As such, Frank Key channel was temporarily closed to limit the adverse effects of passing boats on spoonbills; this temporary closure was recently lifted.
For additional information contact the Chief Ranger, Everglades National Park at 305-242-7730.