Alexandria, VA – The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) announced today a contribution of $10,000 to the South Florida National Parks Trust’s Florida Bay Stewardship Fund, which seeks to improve boating access and resource stewardship in Everglades National Park. Through this program, a new network of access corridors will be created on Florida Bay in Everglades National Park, providing improved access to the bay’s shallow waters for anglers and better long-term conservation for the park’s sensitive marine resources.
“We are proud to support the Florida Bay Stewardship Fund, which will help shape how Everglades National Park is experienced and enjoyed by more than 100,000 boaters and anglers each year,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s Conservation director. “This contribution is intended to help improve fishing access and fisheries conservation in Florida Bay. It’s also a recognition of the commendable work by Everglades National Park officials in developing a sound management plan that will benefit Florida Bay for years to come.”
The new navigational corridors are a product of the new General Management Plan (GMP) for Everglades National Park, updated in 2015. The final GMP received support from ASA and other recreational fishing and boating groups for the thoughtful manner in which park managers engaged the public and sought solutions that carefully weighed fishing and boating access with the need to conserve sensitive habitat.
“The collaborative and science-based process that Everglades National Park officials followed in developing the GMP hopefully can serve as a model to be replicated by other national parks as natural resource management done right,” said Leonard. “This plan proves that reasonable public access can be achieved while still ensuring resource conservation, if resource managers are willing to work to build consensus and explore innovative concepts.”
Through the Florida Bay Stewardship Fund, the South Florida National Parks Trust is seeking to raise $150,000 to establish more than 30 new access corridors in Florida Bay with signs and markers, and promote safe boating through the development of electronic navigational tools, waterproof maps and educational products. More information can be found at the Florida Bay Stewardship Fund website.