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Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Gulf Coast Ranger Station, 239-695-4217
Superintendent Dan Kimball announced today that Everglades National Park Rangers, in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, have recently run two special operations to enforce manatee speed zones in the Everglades. Multiple officers working in Chokoloskee Bay issued 25 speed citations and numerous safety and resource violations in a two-day period. Chokoloskee Bay is considered an Area of Inadequate Protection for manatees and undergoing an interagency review to improve the protection for this endangered species. Consequently, enforcement is increasing in an effort to educate boaters and improve compliance with these speed zones. Statewide at least 86 manatees were killed by powerboats in 2006.
In addition to numerous regulatory signs throughout the bay, boaters can download detailed maps of local manatee zones at http://myfwc.com/manatee/data/Collier/collaw-sht8.pdf or obtain a copy of the free publication “Boating and Angling Guide to Collier county” from the library. National Park Service Rangers are also available at the Gulf Coast Visitor Center of Everglades national Park to answer questions.
The Gulf Coast Visitor Center phone number is 239-695-3311 and is located in Everglades City, Florida 5 miles south of Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail) on State Road 29, in Everglades City. From Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley), take exit 80 (State Road 29) south and proceed 20 miles to Everglades City. Once in Everglades City, follow the signs to the park. The visitor center is on the right. Hours of Operation are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm daily in Winter 9:00 am to 4:30 pm daily in Summer.