As a birder and naturalist, I have a love/hate relationship with roads and parking lots in national parks. On the one hand, it’s not difficult to agree with Ed Abbey that all pavement is the opposite of progress. Roads kill things outright and bring more tourists, a certain percentage of which will be destructive in their own way. Then I stop and think about the best birding spots I’ve found in the parks – and a majority of them of were either in a parking lot or within sight of some kind of pavement.
Everglades National Park
As part of National Parks Traveler's Centennial Series, a collection of papers and essays commemorating the National Park Service Centennial, Chelsea Skoject, a natural resources conservation student on track to graduate in 2017 from the University of Florida Natural Resources Conservation, explores the question of who will preserve national park landscapes in the future.
Everglades National Park is our only national wetland park, and one of the largest aquascapes in the world. Perhaps more than any other U.S. national park, Everglades' treasures are hard to defend. Lying at the southern end of an immense watershed the size of New Jersey, Everglades National Park is caught between the largest man-made water project in the world upstream and a rapidly rising ocean downstream.
The National Park Service and the Florida Department of Transportation have announced the next significant milestone in the Everglades National Park restoration. On May 23, FDOT awarded a contract to joint venture team of Condotte America Inc. and Stantec for the construction of the 2.6-mile bridge and roadway project on State Road (SR) 90/SW 8 Street/Tamiami Trail.
Another park and a new vendor are selling entrance passes online as the National Park Service tests a variety of electronic services as part of a pilot program. Annual and seven-day passes to Everglades National Park are being sold in advance at Smart Destinations at no additional cost.
While the results remain to be seen, Everglades National Park officials are demonstrating some fiscal creativity in their bid to see lodging returned to Flamingo, a popular area of the park that has been beaten and bruised by hurricanes.
In a bid to see lodging facilities established at Flamingo in Everglades National Park by September 2018, the National Park Service is offering a $5 million enticement to the concessionaire that wins the contract. The money would be used to pay for construction of lodging and visitor facilities at Flamingo.
A fire possibly sparked by campers at the Long Pine Key Campground in Everglades National Park had spread across nearly 4,000 acres, though crews reported that it was 40 percent contained.
Waters discharged from the Turkey Point nuclear power plant in Florida are contaminating Biscayne Bay and pose a threat to Biscayne National Park, according to studies commissioned by the state of Florida.2016-03-11_rg_letter_to_gina_mccarthy_r.e_bay_contaminated_water_discharge.pdf
Concerned that human activities might cause nesting Roseate Spoonbills to abandon their nests, Everglades National Park officials have closed the west side of Palm Key to all access.