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Everglades National Park GMP/East Everglades Wilderness Study

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January 2014 Update

The National Park Service (NPS) is developing a new general management plan for Everglades National Park. The plan will also include a wilderness study for the East Everglades Addition, an area added to the park boundary in 1989. The general management plan will provide broad guidance for decisions about natural and cultural resource protection, appropriate types and levels of visitor activities, and facility development. The plan will articulate the park's mission, purpose, and significance, and define the resource conditions and visitor experiences that should be achieved and maintained over time. The plan will consider Everglades National Park both as a unit of the national park system and in a broader ecosystem context that includes the surrounding South Florida region.

Status and Next Steps:
The Draft General Management Plan/East Everglades Wilderness Study/Environmental Impact Statement (GMP) public review and comment period took place from February 27 to May 12, 2013. Nine public meetings (more than 1,000 participants) and more than 20 additional stakeholder meetings, including South Florida Congressional delegation, were held. Also, 10 additional site visits, some with stakeholders, to key areas of the park took place this summer and fall to better understand resource conditions and identify best strategies for resource protection and visitor experiences. Comments from more than 15,000 individuals/groups were received and analyzed.

Comments were representative of a wide cross section of user groups and stakeholders who have been actively involved in the project over the years. As expected, the vast majority of comments focused on strategies to protect and provide reasonable access to Florida Bay and the East Everglades Addition. The planning team is working to refine the Preferred Alternative and other sections of the GMP based on the public comment and analysis.

The release of the Final GMP and the signing of the Record of Decision, which completes the GMP process, are scheduled for this summer (2014). Please check back for periodic updates with more detailed information. Thank you for your continued interest.

Prior update (February 2013):
Everglades National Park has released its Draft GMP for public review and comment. The Draft GMP public comment period is open through Sunday, May 12, 2013. Superintendent Dan Kimball said "the park has been working to complete the draft plan for many years, and we're pleased to have reached this important milestone. We now look forward to presenting the results of this collaborative effort, hearing directly from the public and many stakeholder groups, and working to shape the long-term vision for the park when the plan is completed next year." Seven (7) public meetings will be held for the Draft GMP and East Everglades Wilderness Study. The draft GMP evaluates the NPS Preferred Alternative and three other alternatives. Superintendent Kimball believes that the Preferred Alternative would most effectively achieve the long-term goals and desired conditions for the park and for compatibility with Everglades ecosystem restoration efforts. "The planning team carefully considered the park's mission, its legal responsibilities, current and future restoration projects, and public input in crafting the Preferred Alternative, which also is identified as the environmentally preferred alternative." Following the comment period, public input will be reviewed and analyzed, and adjustments will be made before issuing the Final GMP and Record of Decision in 2014.

Contact Information
Please contact the park at 305-242-7700