Click read more below to read the entire 12/29/2011 group e-mail from Dan B. Kimball, Superintendent, Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks
I encourage everyone interested in our local National Parks to read this e-mail which discusses the delay in the public release of the park’s Draft General Management Plan (GMP) and the challenges facing the Federal government, including the National Park Service (NPS), on how best to invest available funds in support of our nation’s most critical needs.
The NPS has been asked to carefully reevaluate proposals regarding the redevelopment of Flamingo and the Gulf Coast Visitor Center site in Everglades City, as these two projects were by far the most expensive elements identified in the GMP.
The terms “realistic” and “feasible” are used to describe the plan to establishing long-term direction for Flamingo and the Gulf Coast sites.
I encourage you to become interested and participate in this process in 2012. The process includes long-term concessions contract planned to be awarded in late 2013 that identify the facilities and services that will be provided at Flamingo.
As you know, the public release of the park’s Draft General Management Plan (GMP) was delayed earlier this year. The delay was attributable to challenges facing the Federal government, including the National Park Service (NPS), on how best to invest available funds in support of our nation’s most critical needs. Specific to Everglades National Park, we’ve been asked to carefully reevaluate proposals regarding the redevelopment of Flamingo and the Gulf Coast Visitor Center site in Everglades City, as these two projects were by far the most expensive elements identified in the GMP.
We’ve spent the last several months initiating those evaluation efforts and they will continue to be a high priority for the Park in 2012. Our commitment is not just to complete a plan, but to have a GMP that can be implemented and that includes achievable goals and strategies for the wide range of issues that have been discussed in the GMP process over the years.
Establishing long-term direction for Flamingo and the Gulf Coast site that is realistic and feasible is fundamental to the GMP effort. This requires taking into account existing and projected budget constraints, the susceptibility of these low-lying coastal sites to intense storms and flooding, and providing future concessioners at both sites with viable business opportunities.
Please use the following links to view additional new information about the GMP: http://www.nps.gov/ever/parkmgmt/ever-general-management-plan.htm and the Gulf Coast Site Redevelopment project: http://www.nps.gov/ever/parkmgmt/gulfcoastredevelopment.htm (note: details about the upcoming January 19, 2012 public meeting and comment period is provided at the Gulf Coast project link).
The process of reexamining Flamingo is occurring on a separate track. That process will culminate in a new, long-term concessions contract that should be awarded in late 2013 that identifies the facilities and services that will be provided at Flamingo. Though the scope of the Flamingo redevelopment is being scaled back, the analysis informing the next concessions contract is tied to the important principles and public involvement that occurred in the 2008 Commercial Services Plan (http://www.nps.gov/ever/parkmgmt/flamingo-commercial-services-plan.htm) and the 2010 Master Plan that provided additional details (http://www.nps.gov/ever/parkmgmt/flamingomasterplan.htm).
I know many of you were disappointed in news of the delayed release of the Draft GMP, especially in light of your ongoing commitments to staying engaged and giving of your valuable time. I hope you will continue to provide your valuable input as the GMP is completed – the plan’s success is dependent on it! We will keep you updated on our progress in revising the GMP and look forward to meeting with you and hearing from you when the Draft GMP is released in 2013.
On behalf of everyone at Everglades National Park, I want to thank each of you for your continued interest and support. We look forward to seeing you on January 19 or hearing from you during the comment period on the Gulf Coast Site Redevelopment project.
I wish you and your families a great 2012!
Dan B. Kimball, SuperintendentEverglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks
Fred Herling, Supervisory Park Planner
Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks
40001 SR 9336, Homestead, FL 33034
305-242-7704 (phone), 305-242-7711 (fax)