The Public Comment Deadline is August 24 - Your Support of Alternative 3 is Needed Today!
Public comment is sought on three alternatives for a draft Hunting Management Plan for Big Cypress National Preserve that has been released by the National Park Service (NPS), along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The draft plan, which addresses concerns voiced in a previous public comment period, can be viewed by clicking here. The deadline for public comment is August 24 – make your voice heard today and support Alternative 3!
The proposed plan includes lands in what is called the “Addition” - the 147,000 acres added to the Preserve in 1996 which have not been open to hunting pending the completion of the Addition General Management Plan. That plan was completed in 2010, and states that the NPS will develop a Hunting Management Plan and work with FWC to provide hunting access, define hunting seasons, and develop hunting regulations that are consistent with both agencies' policies and goals for the Addition.
The current proposed plan offers three management alternatives, which can be viewed here and below:
- Alternative 1 (No Action): Management of hunting would occur throughout the Preserve in accordance with the NPS/FWC Cooperative Partnership Agreement.
- Alternative 2: Hunting would continue within the original Preserve boundaries but would not be allowed in the Addition.
- Alternative 3 (Preferred Alternative): This option calls for NPS and FWC, in consultation with FWS, to apply an adaptive management strategy to managing hunting throughout the Preserve. It would provide greater flexibility than Alternative 1 in responding to on-the-ground conditions.
What you can do to support Alternative 3:
1) Plan on attending a public meeting, hosted by the agencies on August 9, from 5PM - 7:30PM. It will take place at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center on 33000 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, Florida. The meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to review the draft alternatives and provide comments and suggestions on changes prior to the creation of a final approved plan.
2) Please take a few minutes to submit comments online in support of Alternative 3, which you can do by clicking here.
Remember: The deadline for public comment is August 24! Anti-hunters will flood the NPS with comments supporting Alternative 2 in order to keep the Addition closed to hunters. Therefore, it is vitally important that the NPS receives overwhelming support for Alternative 3 from Florida’s hunting community.