South Florida National Parks Trust

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2005
Contact: Don Finefrock,
Executive Director
305.665.4769
New Campaign Educates Boaters to Protect Florida Bay

KEY LARGO, FLA. – Everglades National Park has launched an expanded public outreach campaign to educate boaters about how to explore Florida Bay without damaging the marine habitat that makes the park a world-class destination for fishermen. The campaign is being funded with a grant from the South Florida National Parks Trust, in partnership with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA).

“Effective stewardship of Florida Bay requires strong leadership and cooperation. Everglades National Park is excited about this new innovative program which is crucial to ensuring that Florida Bay's fragile sea grasses and excellent fishing remain viable for visitors," Park Superintendent Dan Kimball said.

The grant provides $46,000 in funding for an additional park ranger to work with veteran fishing guides, local anglers, and volunteers to educate boaters about the fragile nature of Florida Bay, which covers nearly 500,000 acres within Everglades National Park. Inexperienced boaters often run aground in the park, damaging the vital sea grass beds that sustain life in the bay.

Florida Bay District Interpreter David Szymanski and Ranger Cara Dickman are leading the effort to educate boaters. Dickman joined the park staff on August 8 to work exclusively on the expanded public education and outreach campaign. A new brochure, produced with funding from the grant, provides a map and guide of Florida Bay for boaters and other park visitors.

“Private donations are a way for people that love the Bay – local residents, boaters and fishermen alike – to protect and enhance the Bay” said NPCA Regional Director Mary Munson. “We hope this will encourage other people to support the outreach and education efforts at Everglades National Park.”

The public can obtain a copy of the brochure, or request that the National Park Service meet with a local recreational group or association by contacting Szymanski or Dickman in Key Largo (305-852-0324 x 4). 

NPCA is proud to be an active partner in helping expand the public education and outreach capabilities at Everglades National Park. Since 1919, the nonpartisan NPCA has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its members, and partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come. The organization’s website is www.npca.org.

The South Florida National Parks Trust was established in 2002 by the National Park Foundation to improve the quality of life in South Florida by supporting the region’s national parks.