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May 01, 2013

Fishing Access Restrictions Proposed in Everglades National Park

Send in your comments today in support of reasonable and responsible fishing access

Whether you’ve fished the Everglades or just have it on your bucket list, unless you take action today your ability to access much of the park may be significantly diminished!

A recently released draft General Management Plan (GMP) for Everglades National Park includes extensive non combustion engine zones, covering 33 percent of Florida Bay, that may act as de facto fishing closures. Boaters would be allowed to use push poles or trolling motors in these areas, but because many of these areas are several miles wide and lack channels or corridors for motorized access, many popular fishing areas would become virtually inaccessible.

Send in your comments today in support of reasonable and responsible fishing access in Everglades National Park. Below is a template letter you can copy and paste into the official comment form. You are encouraged to personalize your letter as much as possible.

Thank you for doing your part to keep America fishing!

Sample letter on Everglades Draft GMP:

As an angler and conservationist, I fully support efforts to restore and conserve the magnificent natural resources in Everglades National Park. I want to ensure that current and future generations have the ability to enjoy this national treasure.

I am concerned, however, that the proposed management actions in the draft General Management Plan would unnecessarily restrict public access to large areas of the park’s waters far beyond what is needed for resource protection. In particular, the pole and troll zones proposed in the park’s preferred alternative are so large and lacking in sufficient access corridors that the majority of these areas would become de facto closures. Closing these prime fishing areas would burden anglers and hurt local recreational fishing-dependent businesses.

It is my understanding that several local fishing organizations have provided a detailed set of maps that identify existing boating access corridors in relation to the proposed pole and troll zones. I strongly urge you to incorporate these concepts for improved access into the management plan.

I am also concerned with complications that may result from the proposed mandatory boater education program. While I support improved boater education, rather than enacting a mandatory boater education program specifically for Everglades National Park that has different requirements from surrounding federal and state waters, I believe that federal agencies and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission should work to develop a boater education program that would apply to all appropriate federally managed areas in Florida.

Thank you for your consideration.

–– Source: Keep America Fishing