Biscayne National Park to Celebrate 40th Anniversary

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   October 17, 2008
Contact:   John Adornato, Sun Coast Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association, Phone: 954.961.1280, ext. 207


Biscayne National Park to Celebrate 40th Anniversary

Public Forum To Address Park Challenges & Opportunities; Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen & County Commissioner Sorenson Keynote Speakers

Hollywood, Fla.—In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Biscayne National Park, the nation’s leading voice for the national parks, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), will host a day-long public forum to address challenges and opportunities facing the largest marine park in the National Park System. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson will serve as keynote speakers.

“Biscayne National Park is a national treasure that provides important recreational opportunities and boosts our region’s economy,” said John Adornato, NPCA regional director. “While we commemorate the 40th anniversary of Biscayne, we must also look to the 2016 centennial of our National Park System to ensure all of our national parks are protected, unimpaired, for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.”

NPCA staff, along with expert panelists, will discuss the importance of protecting marine fish and wildlife habitat, preserving the park’s diverse cultural heritage, and addressing the impact of restoration and climate change on the park.  See forum agenda below.

Public Forum:  Celebrating 40 Years of Biscayne National Park

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. Welcome
John Adornato, NPCA Regional Director
Mark Lewis, Superintendent, Biscayne National Park

9:15 – 9:30 a.m. Opening Keynote Speaker
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

9:30 – 10:45 a.m. 
Many Faces of Biscayne: Culture and Diversity in our National Park
Examine the cultural treasures and human history of Biscayne National Park, including the park’s minority history, and current initiatives encouraging underserved communities to utilize this local treasure.

10:45 – 11:00 a.m. BREAK
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 
Vision Biscayne 2016: Preparing for a 2nd Century of Success
Analyzing the park’s larger resource issues, this panel will discuss ways to successfully transition the park from celebrating its 40th birthday to preparing for the centennial of the National Park System in 2016.

12:15 – 2:00 p.m. Lunch and Birthday Cake
Keynote Speaker at the estate ballroom
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. 
Solutions from the Ground Up
Explore current and future proactive efforts, led by local communities, to improve the conditions in and around the park.

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. Closing Remarks

A recent assessment by NPCA’s Center for the State of the Parks found that insufficient funding and staffing have greatly impacted the Park Service’s ability to protect and restore Biscayne’s coral reefs, natural freshwater flows, and 18th-century shipwrecks. Inadequate freshwater flows to the park threaten underwater fisheries, which affects the local economy that fishermen depend upon. To view report findings, please click here.

Biscayne National Park is the largest marine park in the National Park System, and includes part of the third-longest coral reef system in the world.  The park embodies the longest stretch of mangrove forest remaining on Florida’s eastern seaboard, and many endangered species, including the West Indian manatee.

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