CCA TALKING POINTS ON EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK
PROPOSED DRAFT GENERAL MANAGEMENT PLAN
- CCA Florida has reviewed the Proposed Draft General Management Plan Alternatives (GMP) issued by Everglades National Park and finds thePreferred Alternative Unacceptable! The Preferred Alternative denies reasonable access to anglers and boaters!
- The Park’s Preferred Alternative will turn ONE THIRD of its waters in Florida Bay into large Pole and Troll Zones (PTZs).The scale of these PTZs is unprecedented! The PTZs are too large and, contrary to statements within the planning document, they lack reasonable access. The PTZs in the Preferred Alternative are de facto exclusionary zones. CCA is concerned that the Park has ignored several years of comments from boaters and anglers in developing its Preferred Alternative.
- The proposed PTZs in Florida Bay are significantly influenced by tidal flow, winds and seasonal variations in water levels. These conditions as well as safety and weather concerns require access corridors. The distances proposed to access the PTZs are too great to be poled or for the use of electric trolling motors. Access corridors and idle speed access zones are necessary. The Park should establish access corridors in its proposed PTZs similar to those in use in the Pole and Troll Zones of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. These corridors should be marked with buoys.
- CCA supports the protection of the Park's marine resources and knows that the vast majority of the anglers/boaters in the Park are good stewards of the resource. Anglers and boaters will favorably respond to better marking and educational programs. Informational markers are necessary
- The Snake Bight PTZ should be modified to allow access through Snake Bight Channel, Christian Point and the natural deep water tidal runoffs along the Snake Bight channel.
- CCA recommends the Park incrementally establish new and accessible PTZs, starting with the areas around Flamingo and progressing outward as funds become available to properly mark access corridors and PTZs.
- The proposed shoreline zones will enhance the experience of anglers, but the historically used channels in those areas should be maintained for access and boating safety reasons. These lesser channels/corridors should be marked by buoys or indicated as “local knowledge required”.
- The implementation of a PTZ along the western portion of Gopher creek is not warranted and is a no boating zone. The Cross Bays/Hurdles Creek area should not be restricted as they provide historic access and passage during rough weather.
- South Florida and the Florida Keys will be significantly and irreparably economically harmed by the restrictions in the Preferred Alternative.
- CCA requests now as it has in the past, that the Park establish Working Group of experienced anglers to work with Park planners to identify access corridors.
- CCA requests the Park produce the promised study of the Snake Bight PTZ before the final GMP is issued.
- CCA believes that additional marking is needed on the Parks access points to educate boaters on proper navigation, prevailing water levels, resource protection and areas requiring local knowledge.