After more than a decade of research, planning, and an extensive public comment process, the National Park Service released their final General Management Plan for Everglades National Park.
Statement by John Adornato, Sun Coast Regional Director for the National Parks Conservation Association
Background: After 13 years of research, planning, and an extensive public comment process, the National Park Service today released their final General Management Plan for Everglades National Park. It will inform park resource policies and procedures for years to come, provides for an increase in improvements and protections for one of America’s most diverse national parks.
“America’s Everglades is internationally recognized for its biological importance and is one of the most iconic parks in the National Park System– there is no place like it on Earth. Today’s final plan, which will guide the park’s protection and preservation for the next 20 years, offers tremendous opportunities for park visitors while protecting much of the park’s treasured environment as wilderness. Also, Everglades restoration will now be a prominent guiding factor for management decisions made within the park and will bring clean, fresh water South to Florida Bay.
“This plan will provide much needed and widely supported protections to the marine environment of the Everglades ecosystem. National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) celebrates the work of our allies of scientists, anglers, fishing guides, park staff, and others to ensure that boater education is a seminal component. NPCA has worked for years to ensure that park-wide boater education programs are included in the final management plan and new pole-troll zones will go a long way to enhance the visitor experience and protect the seagrass beds and mangroves in Florida Bay. These marine enhancements will also ensure a more resilient ecosystem to combat the effects of climate change and sea level rise.”
“The additional wilderness designation will make Everglades National Park the largest wilderness area east of the Rockies. As part of the expanded wilderness area, continued and future airboating activities along Tamiami Trail will offer visitors increased access.
“Everglades National Park contributes $105 million to the local economy and welcomes 1.1 million visitors annually. This plan, which includes improvements to the Gulf Coast and Shark Valley visitor centers, is a great way to begin the National Park Service’s upcoming centennial celebration in 2016. Additionally, the plan calls for the rebuilding of Flamingo, a beloved overnight destination for families, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts. Paddlers will also have more accommodations for overnight stays along the Wilderness Waterway trail in the 10,000 Islands area of the park.”
“Former and current park staff deserve deep praise for their commitment to ensuring that the final management plan will protect and preserve Everglades National Park – the anchor of South Florida’s four national parks which includes Biscayne and Dry Tortugas National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve. NPCA is proud to have worked so closely with the park and its myriad stakeholders for more than a decade through the process to achieve a positive plan that will be embraced by and benefit so many diverse interests.”
To learn more or to view the final GMP, please visit: http://bit.ly/1JBGMbB.
About the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA): Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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