The deafening roar of the 225-horsepower Mercury engine propelled our skiff across the turquoise expanse of Biscayne Bay. It was hard to imagine that less than an hour earlier I’d been sipping a café cubano in the heart of downtown Miami. Here we were though, making headway toward an offshore reef to explore some of South Florida’s renowned marine habitat.
Dry Tortugas National Park
President Obama's budget request for the 2016 fiscal year seeks $2.6 billion for the National Park Service, an increase of $55 million from current funding levels. That request seeks hundreds of millions of dollars for infrastructure needs, such as renovations to the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park and for safety, efficiency, and access upgrades to the visitor's center at Gettysburg National Military Park.
Nearly $200,000 is flowing to four south Florida national park units to help underwrite habitat restoration, protect wildlife, and support visitor programs.
A problem roughly a century in the making that left Grand Canyon National Park in a nearly $200 million hole is impacting parks from coast to coast, with superintendents forced to find programs and projects they can postpone, cutback, or simply cut.
“I get by with a little help from my friends,” sang the Beatles. When it comes to national parks, it had better be a lot of help. The National Park Service often struggles with funding. Now, with tighter budgets and more demands, friends groups are proving invaluable in helping out parks.
Around The Parks: Ice Bridges At Isle Royale, Sea Turtle Record At Dry Tortugas, Scotty's Castle Delays
Watching Lake Superior ice at Isle Royale National Park, counting sea turtles at Dry Tortugas National Park, and road work woes for Scotty's Castle visitors at Death Valley National Park are just some of the other stories around the National Park System this week.
Guided Ranger Tours, Educational Programs In Florida National Parks Underwritten By South Florida National Parks Trust
More evidence of the value of national park friends groups can be seen in Florida, where the South Florida National Parks Trust is underwriting environmental education programs, ranger-guided tours, and resource protection projects in the parks.
Wonderment and joy unfold in the national parks come fall when the wild kingdom becomes more visible, literally voicing the call of the wild in parks such as Great Smoky Mountains or Rocky Mountain or winging overhead in any number of parks.
Dry Tortugas may be the most remote national park in the east. Once you get there, there's so much to do that you may want to stay overnight.