News Release

Everglades National Park invites public input to develop new Wilderness Stewardship Plan

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News Release Date: February 2, 2024

Contact: Media Contact: Allyson Gantt, 786-610-8023

Contact: Project Information: Daniel Noon, 305-242-7717

Contact: Visitor Information, 305-242-7700

Everglades National Park is seeking public comment on the park’s upcoming wilderness stewardship plan, which will guide the preservation, management and use of the park’s wilderness lands. The National Park Service (NPS) manages 97% of the park’s 1.5 million acres as wilderness, including submerged marine lands. A StoryMap with details is available on the NPS Planning, Environment & Public Comment site, where written comments may be submitted from Feb. 2 through March 31.  

“We are very excited to gather public input on our wilderness stewardship planning effort,” said Superintendent Pedro Ramos of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks. “Having a wilderness stewardship plan that balances the protection and management of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness with active use and enjoyment by people is essential.”  

The purpose of the wilderness stewardship plan is to guide the preservation, use and management of the park’s established wilderness areas. In accordance with the Wilderness Act and other applicable laws and policies, the plan would provide long-term direction for:
  • preserving wilderness character
  • protecting natural and cultural resources
  • improving wilderness conditions by restoring habitats, conducting research, and managing for invasive species and other threats
  • providing appropriate recreational opportunities for and encouraging public use and enjoyment of wilderness.
The NPS will host two virtual civic engagement meetings for the public to learn more and ask questions on Feb. 28 and March 12 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on both days. A link to join the virtual public meetings will be available on the project website under “Meeting Notices.” The meetings will begin with a presentation followed by a moderated question and answer session.  

Located within Everglades National Park, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness is the largest unit of the National Wilderness Preservation System east of the Rocky Mountains. Established in 1934, Everglades National Park was considered wilderness 30 years before the Wilderness Act of 1964 was signed into law and 44 years prior to its official wilderness designation in 1978.  

The plan would provide general management direction for established wilderness areas, proposed areas for wilderness designation, and potential wilderness within the East Everglades Addition. The plan will also include developed and front country areas that serve as “gateways” to wilderness. This plan would replace Everglades National Park’s 1981 Backcountry Management Plan and supplements the park's 2015 General Management Plan.  

The public can view a StoryMap with information about the planning effort and submit written comments on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at  

Although submitting comments through the project website is preferred, comments may also be mailed to: 
Superintendent Attn: Wilderness Stewardship Plan
Everglades National Park 
40001 State Road 9336 
Homestead, FL 33034  

Mailed comments must be postmarked by March 31.  

The next steps will include development of alternatives, additional public comment, and a management decision as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  

Last updated: February 2, 2024

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40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, FL 33034-6733


305 242-7700

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