National Parks Conservation Association Files Suit Against Park Service for Failure to Protect Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   October 12, 2011
Contact:   Alison Zemanski, NPCA Media Relations Manager, Phone: 202.454.3332; Cell: 202.384.8762
John Adornato, NPCA Sun Coast Regional Director, Phone: 945.961.1280 ext 207; Cell: 954.309.9307


National Parks Conservation Association Files Suit Against Park Service for Failure to Protect Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida

General Management Plan limits protection of Florida Panther habitat in Addition Lands

Hollywood, Fla. —The nation’s leading park advocacy organization, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), today filed a lawsuit against the National Park Service (NPS) for their failure to protect unique wilderness lands and Florida panther habitat within Big Cypress National Preserve by exposing its Addition Lands to motorized off-road vehicle (ORV) use.  The lawsuit also seeks to require a fair balance of interests on the federally appointed “ORV Advisory Committee, “as required by law.

“We will show the Court that instead of being guided by the legal mandates and the scientific evidence in making its decisions, the National Park Service followed the reverse process in this case, bending or ignoring the legal mandates and the science to make way for the decisions it wanted to reach,” said Robert Rosenbaum of the law firm of Arnold & Porter.

For years, the Addition Lands within Big Cypress National Preserve have been protected by federal and state laws for all Americans to enjoy as a natural area--to hike and view wildlife among other activities. The final NPS plan opens most of the 147,000 acre Addition Lands portion of Big Cypress National Preserve to ORV use, where it has been prohibited.  The plan minimizes the area to be protected as “wilderness” and authorizes more than 130 miles of intrusive ORV trails. 

Not only will the ORV trails negatively impact the Big Cypress Addition, the trails will also be detrimental to Everglades National Park, which is the final stop for water flowing through Big Cypress.  “NPS has admitted that they do not fully understand the impacts that ORV trails and use will have on critical surface water flows through this area, including water flowing into Everglades National Park,” said John Adornato, NPCA’s Sun Coast regional director in Hollywood, Florida.  “This water flow is vital to the health of the Everglades and is an important reason that the Addition was added to the Preserve.”

The suit charges that NPS wrongly dropped 40,000 acres from its previous wilderness finding with no factual or legal basis and without public input.  In addition, the lawsuit also seeks to balance the federally appointed “ORV Advisory Committee,” which will participate in implementing the new Addition Lands ORV plan. 

“From its inception in 2007, the committee has been dominated by ORV users, with only nominal representation for those advocating for the protection of the Preserve’s unique and natural ecology, which is the Preserve’s primary purpose.” said Rosenbaum.  “The court should order the committee to cease further operation until its membership has been fairly balanced.”

“Big Cypress National Preserve is a national treasure for all Americans and was created to preserve and protect sensitive lands,” said John Adornato.  “NPS should throw the current plan out and start over.  A new plan is needed to protect this treasured land, which is home to several endangered species, including the Florida Panther.”

About National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA): Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in the fight to safeguard our National Park System. NPCA, its more than 600,000 members, supporters and partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for our children and grandchildren.                                                 

###

Close

Want to learn more about the  ?

The   can be seen in the wild in America’s national parks. Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect parks in   & other states

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect   and other National Parks

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Please leave this field empty
Yes, please sign me up for NPCA’s newsletter and other emails about protecting our national parks!

National Parks Conservation Association
National Parks Conservation Association

Log In

Or log in with your connected Facebook or Twitter account:

GO

Welcome to our growing community of park advocates. Thanks for signing up!

Sign Up:

Or sign up by connecting your Facebook or Twitter account:

GO