Everglades National Park officials ask public for input on new general management plan

 

jsimmons@MiamiHerald.com

Everglades National Park officials have encouraged the public to comment on the park’s draft general management plan before the public comment period closes Sunday night.

The draft plan includes proposals for increasing designated wilderness areas and managing visitor activities like boating, airboating and paddling.

It lays out goals for resource protection and facilities development and presents and evaluates four alternative proposals for future park management, including the NPS Preferred Alternative plan favored by the Park Service.

Major proposals in the version preferred by the Park Service include requiring boaters and paddlers to take an educational course and get a permit to use boats inside the park, setting aside 33 percent of Florida Bay waters in the park as pole-and-troll zones to protect seagrass beds, designating large areas south of Tamiami Trail as wilderness and limiting access by airboats and other motorized vehicles, and establishing a new Alternative Wilderness Waterway marked by GPS waypoints.

The Park Service has taken public comments on the draft plan since February and plans to complete the final version of the general management plan some time next year.

To view or comment on the draft general management plan, visit parkplanning.nps.gov/EVER and click the link on the left titled "open for comment."

The comment link will close at 1:59 a.m. Monday.

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