Miss Flamingo? Speak up Now!
In the summer of 2005, hurricanes Katrina and Wilma laid waste to Flamingo, the only significant commercial hub of Everglades National Park. Recently, the park released a draft of its commercial services plan – the plan for rebuilding Flamingo – and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is voicing concern that they do it right.
“We’ve been advocating for Flamingo to be re-created in a new way,” says Senior Program Coordinator Jill Horwitz. “We’d like to see the Everglades use the latest in green technologies. . . [and] to provide more services to the visitors -- star gazing, boat launches, tours. . . but the park needs to hear that message from the public.”
At issue - surprise, surprise - is funding: the Bush administration has been slashing funding for national parks (hey, occupation and never-ending war is expensive, folks!), and the Everglades have been hit hard. They could build the ruins of Flamingo into a cutting-edge facility, but they also could just slap some paint on it without having to reach too deeply into the cookie jar.
Right now, the park is considering three alternatives: (a) do nothing (very cheap); (b) rebuilt it as it was (less cheap); (c) “Flamingo Redesigned” (exciting, but not cheap). The NPCA is rooting for the latter. “We hope to see something exciting,” says Horwitz, who sent New Times the picture above, a rendering of NPCA’s vision for the area. “Everybody is behind this: the anglers, the birders, the families that have been coming to spend New Years there,” she emphasizes. “It’s important that the public tells the park how much they miss Flamingo.”
Public input ends Friday (in other words, TOMORROW). If you want to weigh in, click here.