Public comment period runs Feb. 2 to March 31
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Everglades National Park is seeking public comment on the park’s upcoming wilderness stewardship plan, which will guide the preservation, management and use of the park’s wilderness lands. The National Park Service (NPS) manages 97% of the park’s 1.5 million acres as wilderness, including submerged marine lands. A StoryMap with details is available on the NPS Planning, Environment & Public Comment site, where written comments may be submitted from Feb. 2 through March 31.
“We are very excited to gather public input on our wilderness stewardship planning effort,” said Superintendent Pedro Ramos of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks. “Having a wilderness stewardship plan that balances the protection and management of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness with active use and enjoyment by people is essential.”
The purpose of the wilderness stewardship plan is to guide the preservation, use and management of the park’s established wilderness areas. In accordance with the Wilderness Act and other applicable laws and policies, the plan would provide long-term direction for:
The NPS will host two virtual civic engagement meetings for the public to learn more and ask questions on Feb. 28 and March 12 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on both days. A link to join the virtual public meetings will be available on the project website under “Meeting Notices.” The meetings will begin with a presentation followed by a moderated question and answer session.
Located within Everglades National Park, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness is the largest unit of the National Wilderness Preservation System east of the Rocky Mountains. Established in 1934, Everglades National Park was considered wilderness 30 years before the Wilderness Act of 1964 was signed into law and 44 years prior to its official wilderness designation in 1978.
The plan would provide general management direction for established wilderness areas, proposed areas for wilderness designation, and potential wilderness within the East Everglades Addition. The plan would also include developed and front country areas that serve as “gateways” to wilderness. This plan would replace Everglades National Park’s 1981 Backcountry Management Plan and supplements park's 2015 General Management Plan.
The public can view a StoryMap with information about the planning effort and submit written comments on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at parkplanning.nps.gov/ever-wsp.
Although submitting comments through the project website is preferred, comments may also be mailed to:
Attn: Wilderness Stewardship Plan
Everglades National Park
40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, FL 33034
Mailed comments must be postmarked by March 31.
The next steps will include development of alternatives, additional public comment, and a management decision as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Learn more about Everglades National Park online at nps.gov/ever or follow the park on Facebook, X, and Instagram.
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