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Everglades Boaters Chafe At Proposed Ban


    A proposal by Everglades National Park officials to restrict motorboat access is, not surprisingly, not being embraced by south Florida's boating community.
    During a public meeting on the proposal earlier this week boaters reportedly got a bit testy about the Park Service's contention that their propellers are harming sea grass and the seabed in Florida Bay.
    Park Superintendent Dan Kimball struggled to maintain order as the audience grew increasingly restless. Collier County sheriff’s deputies stood guard along the fringe of the gathering. What was supposed to be a staid presentation of alternatives devolved, at some points, into a heated debate, reads a portion of the story in the Naples Daily News.
And folks think the debate over snowmobiles in Yellowstone is contentious.
    Sadly, no good is accomplished by such rowdiness. Park officials are merely doing their job in updating the general management plan for the Everglades. The document, which guides the park's management, has not been thoroughly updated since 1979.
    Taking public comment is all part of the process. The boating community is being given ample opportunity to counter the Park Service's rationale for proposing a restriction, and measured, rational input, not heated charges and complaints, is the best approach for convincing the agency to alter its proposals.
    The comment period on proposed changes runs through the end of July, and the new plan isn't scheduled to be implemented until 2009.

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