Everglades National Park GMP/East Everglades Wilderness Study
Everglades National Park announces the release of its final General Management Plan / East Everglades Wilderness Study / Environmental Impact Statement (GMP/EEWS). The National Park Service (NPS) appreciates the strong public interest and support in the development of this plan. It is the culmination of a great deal of time, energy, and input from members of the public, other agencies, elected officials, many organizations, our tribal neighbors, and the NPS.
This final GMP/EEWS provides broad guidance for decisions about natural and cultural resource protection, appropriate types and levels of visitor activities, and facility development within the park.
During development of the plan the National Park Service conducted extensive civic engagement to identify the issues and concerns to be addressed in the plan, and the strategies for how to best meet goals for protecting and managing Everglades National Park. More than 100 meetings and site visits in the park were held with the public, elected officials, partner agencies, tribal representatives, and many stakeholder organizations. Going forward, communication and coordination with the public and these many organizations will be critical to successful plan implementation in the coming years.
Key changes to the preferred alternative reflected in the final GMP/EEWS include: (1) refinements to Florida Bay zoning, covering more than 140,000 acres, to provide more accurate resource-based zones that protect ecological and wilderness values while providing appropriate access to key destinations and across the bay; (2) refinements to the East Everglades Addition frontcountry and backcountry zoning and wilderness proposal to further support ecosystem restoration, resource protection and a wide range of recreation opportunities; (3) on the new 120-mile Everglades Paddling Trail (called the Alternative Wilderness Waterway in the draft plan), zoning was modified to provide peak-season opportunities for enhanced paddling experiences while recognizing the traditional recreational uses of the park's western backcountry; and (4) opening the Joe Bay area to public use for the first time in over 30 years, allowing for paddling and catch-and-release fishing.
The final NPS preferred alternative proposes an addition to the park's Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness of 85,300 acres in the 109,600-acre East Everglades Addition. This includes 42,200 acres as proposed wilderness and 43,100 acres as potential wilderness.
The final GMP/EEWS including the features of the preferred alternative can be downloaded at this site. A limited number of CD copies and printed copies are available at park headquarters at 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034. For additional information about this plan please contact Fred Herling, supervisory park planner at Fred_Herling@nps.gov or call 305.242.7704.
Following publication of the notice of availability of this document in the Federal Register there will be a 30-day waiting period before the Record of Decision can be signed, concluding the EIS process.
Please contact Fred Herling at 305-242-7704.