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Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Fred Herling, 305-242-7704
Everglades National Park Letter to the Editor - Re: Keynoter article by Kevin Wadlow from April 1, 2009 Edition - “We’re being lied to”
As Superintendent of Everglades National Park, I’d like to point out a few inaccuracies and express some concerns on the headline and tone of the article written by Kevin Wadlow on the park’s public meeting held in Key Largo on March 30th.
The headline, ”We’re being lied to, anglers say about Everglades park proposals” (online version), is misleading as it implies multiple anglers, not just Mr. DelosSantos, expressed this view. Though Mr. DelosSantos is the Key Largo Guides Association President, it was not clear that he was speaking for the organization.
About 100 attended the meeting and 15 people, with diverse perspectives, made formal public comments. Many others stayed to talk with park staff. The article does not reflect the range of views presented, with many recognizing the need for management changes in Florida Bay due to documented resource impacts. It seems that the opportunity to refer to national park managers as liars was to grab readers’ attention. I think it does a disservice to so many in the Keys that care about the park and Bay. It provides a sensational headline, but ignores the cooperative effort between the public and park to develop a sound plan and does not reflect the overall tone of this meeting.
The article also states that "alternatives 2 and 3 would target specific areas as no-motor zones.". Alternative 2 does not zone the Bay with no-motor zones.
The park appreciates the Keynoter’s longstanding interest and coverage of park news. We hope that you continue to do so in a factual and accurate manner. In the case of this round of meetings, including information on their primary purpose – to gain public input for the long term management of Everglades National Park – and ways for the public to get involved would be a service to your readers.
As superintendent, I pledged at this meeting and reiterate here that my staff and I are committed to listening to and working with all stakeholders. We look forward to incorporating the vast local knowledge from your readers and Keys residents that know Florida Bay so well to help develop a plan that protects the park’s unique resources while also providing for public use and enjoyment. I’m confident that with continued strong public involvement, the Draft General Management Plan that will be released next year will reflect that collaborative spirit.
Dan B. Kimball
Everglades & Dry Tortugas National Parks