Environment

Planning group withdraws support for Everglades bike path

In April 2015, protestors to the Everglades Bike Path walk eastbound on Tamiami Trail from Collier county into Miami-Dade County.
In April 2015, protestors to the Everglades Bike Path walk eastbound on Tamiami Trail from Collier county into Miami-Dade County. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

A bike path and hiking trail that would have connected Miami to Naples along the Tamiami Trail hit a major roadblock Friday after opponents convinced a Collier County planning organization to withdraw support.

The 12- to 14-foot wide River of Grass Greenway was expected to cost about $100 million with as many as 77 bridges on a 76-mile course that took it through the heart of the Miccosukee Tribe’s reservation. The tribe, along with the Seminole Tribe, some environmentalists and outdoor groups, opposed it and on Friday presented a petition with 5,500 signatures to the Collier Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Miccosukee Tribal member Betty Osceola called the decision a major victory for opponents.

“Collier County was a major step because that was the largest portion of the pathway and the idea originated in Collier County,” she said.

The group is now working to meet with Miami-Dade County officials to win opposition at the east end of the path. In 2009, the National Park Service won a $1.5 million planning grant and asked the county’s parks department to manage it.

“Miami-Dade County is next because Miami-Dade still has a resolution of support,” she said.

Follow Jenny Staletovich on Twitter @jenstaletovich

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