All national parks must have an approved general management plan (GMP) that guides its decision making. The last master plan for the park was completed in 1979. Everglades National Park is now developing a new GMP/East Everglades Wilderness Study/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will guide management for the next 20 years or more. The new GMP will provide a broad decision making framework for natural and cultural resource protection, appropriate types and levels of visitor use, and appropriate 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. The plan will consider the park both as a unit of the national park system and in a broader ecosystem context that includes the surrounding South Florida region.
As outlined below, the park completed Step 8 and the project was approved on October 23, 2015 with the signing of the Record of Decision by Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin.
* indicates the current step in the planning process
Step 1. Preliminary Alternatives: Present preliminary alternatives for managing Everglades National Park, including a range of wilderness options for East Everglades - Summer 2007
Step 2. Conduct Research Studies: Conduct boat inventory and propeller scarring studies to better understand certain manine resource impacts - 2008
Step 3. Revised Alternatives for Marine Areas: Present revised preliminary alternatives for managing marine areas of the national park. - Spring 2009
Step 4. Develop Preferred Alternative: Based on public comments, preliminary impact analysis, and other considerations, develop a preferred alternative and wilderness proposal - Fall 2009
Step 5. Prepare Draft GMP / East Everglades Wilderness Study / EIS - 2010/2012
Step 6. Release and conduct public review and comment on Draft GMP / East Everglades Wilderness Study / EIS - 2013/2014
Step 7. Prepare and Publish Final Plan: Based on public and agency comments and analysis, revise the plan to produce a Final General Management Plan/ East Everglades Wilderness Study/Environmental Impact Statement - 2014/2015
Step 8. Issue Record of Decision, which completes the project - 2015 *