Statement of Mary Munson on Consent Agreement for Big Cypress Trail Plan

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   December 3, 2002
Contact:   Mary Munson NPCA, 954-926-6327, mmunson@npca.org


Statement of Mary Munson on Consent Agreement for Big Cypress Trail Plan

Hollywood, FL - The consent agreement issued today by the South Florida Water Management District for Big Cypress National Preserve trails addresses violations of the Clean Water Act that occurred during construction of the maintained trail system, which is required by the Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan. The agreement was issued under authority of the Environmental Protection Agency. The trail construction has been under attack because preserve staff initially failed to obtain the necessary permits. The consent agreement means that Big Cypress National Preserve is now operating within the law in implementing the planned trail system.

NPCA's overriding concern for the preserve is the damage that giant swamp buggies and all-terrain vehicles are causing right now as they tear up the rest of Big Cypress. These machines are allowed 'dispersed use' - in other words, the run of the preserve - until the new trail system is constructed. The consent agreement limits destruction by these monster trucks and three-wheelers. This limitation will clear the way for restoring the rest of the preserve's ecological integrity. Anyone who cares about the park and its health can now breath a sigh of relief.

This long-awaited agreement signals the beginning of the end for unmanaged off-road-vehicle use in Big Cypress. Much of the 22,000 miles of ruts and scars caused by past overuse can now be restored.

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