Barbara Jean Powell of the Everglades Coordinating Council said it would keep people out of a region that has become the epicenter of South Florida’s “python crisis”.
“It is important to protect South Florida’s flora and fauna,” Powell said. “These need human intervention. You need humans to kill pythons.”
David Anderson objected to a proposal to restrict airboats to designated trails in the East Everglades.
“It ruins the enjoyment of riding,” he said.
Other speakers at Tuesday’s meeting said they felt park officials were spending too much time on rules and regulations and not enough effort on larger environmental problems such as water quality and the python infestation.
“Pesticides and weed killers are creating a water quality problem in Flamingo,” said Danny Helms. “Focus on the quality of the water and put the money to the best use to do that.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, Kimball thanked the crowd for their input.
“This is exactly the feedback I was hoping for,” he said. “I’m prepared to meet with fishing clubs and groups and go out on the water.”
Kimball said park officials and their colleagues are “making some great headway” in restoring the Everglades ecosystem and doing whatever they can to control the python problem.
He also pledged to establish an advisory group to help guide park management and added that some “eloquent people” in the audience should be part of it.
The comment period for the long-term general management plan for Everglades National Park will be open through May 12. Public meetings will be held April 8 at the IGFA in Dania Beach; April 9th at Edison State College in Naples; April 10 at the Monroe County Government Center in Key Largo and April 11 at Florida International University in Miami. All meeting are from 5:30 p.m. till 8:30 p.m.
To read the plan and comment electronically, go to: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/EVER, then “open for comment”.