Environment

Public input sought on plan to hike Everglades National Park fees

The observation tower at Shark Valley provides panoramic views of Everglades National Park.
The observation tower at Shark Valley provides panoramic views of Everglades National Park.

Two additional meetings seeking public input on a plan to hike fees at Everglades National Park have been scheduled for January.

The fee increases, first announced last month, would be the first since 1997 and raise admission from $10 a car to $25. Some boating and fishing fees would also increase.

Park officials want to make entrance to one of the world’s largest wetlands comparable to other national parks, which charge between $20 and $30 for admission. Increased fees would help pay for a backlog of repairs, including storm damage from hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005 that leveled the park’s only lodgings at Flamingo.

But some state lawmakers have complained that more than doubling admission would make a visit unaffordable for many families. They also complained that only two public meetings were scheduled.

Additional meetings will be held Jan. 12 at the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Naples and Jan. 15 at the Homestead Agricultural Center

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