05-03-2008, 07:58 AM #1
Possible expansion of Everglades Nat. Park
They want to expand the park to go from the intracoastal to the shoreline of Key Largo at Tarpon Basin. Tarpon Basin is about a half mile south of the entrance to Pennekamp,on the bay side, of course. It mentions the park rules would not change, but I don't know if that means that small section will become like Biscayne Park. Only here there would be NO way to go around it, except to be on the ocean side. I am all for conservation, I wish they would stop all new building permits down here and anytime they expand a park it's usually a good thing. But in this case if it makes it off limits to PWC's that's really going to suck for riding on the bay side.
Agency wants to expand Everglades National Park
BY TIMOTHY O'HARA
EVERGLADES — The Legislature is considering bills that would expand Everglades National Park to include Tarpon Basin in Key Largo.
The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental agency that bought Tarpon Basin in 2003 for $370,000, has proposed giving 590 acres of mangroves and tidal wetlands and 10 acres of land to the National Park Service to use for the Everglades, said Chris Bergh, director of the agency's Florida Keys program.
The property, which runs from Florida Bay to U.S. 1, is home to several endangered and protected species, including the West Indian manatee, roseate spoonbill, wood stork and white crowned pigeon. The property includes 10 acres of subtropical hardwood hammock, found only in South Florida and the Keys. More than 70 percent of hardwood hammock in south Key Largo has been lost to development, according to the House bill.
"This a good habitat for rare plants and animals and good for migrating birds," Bergh said.
The proposal should not place any restrictions on fishing or any other activities currently allowed in the park, according to a park spokeswoman.
The gift of the land requires approval from federal legislators. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents Monroe and Miami-Dade counties, submitted the bill last week. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has sponsored a similar bill in the Senate.
"Habitat protection is a vital part of our efforts to help endangered and threatened species in the Florida Keys," Ros-Lehtinen said in a prepared statement Thursday. "This legislation will place fragile and important wetlands, exceptional mangrove forests and significant marine and coastal habitats under the protected stewardship of the National Park Service. I am urging my colleagues in the House to support our endeavor."
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the bill last week. Ros-Lehtinen plans to send a letter to the House Resources Committee asking for a hearing and floor consideration in the near future, said Alex Cruz, a spokesman for Ros-Lehtinen.
05-03-2008, 08:11 AM #2
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