Archive for national parks

Comment today to refurbish Flamingo

Flamingo, Everglades National Park

Thanks to a Sierra Club list, I found out today is the last day for public comments on what happens to Flamingo in Everglades National Park, which was ruined by hurricanes Katrina and then Wilma in 2005.

The picture above is a photo I took on New Year’s Day 2006, after Everglades National Park had just started letting people back into the area. I don’t know why they allowed people to visit Flamingo, because nothing was there — you couldn’t launch a boat, nothing was open, and what you see in the picture — that’s what things were like. A ranger sat at a picnic table to tell the few of us who showed up more pictures of the destruction.

This is what Flamingo could look like:

Now there’s a chance to rebuild Flamingo, and you can comment on it here.

Picture from Miami New Times

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A mammoth find in Big Cypress

About 12 years ago, I paddled and camped along the Peace River with some friends. On that trip, many people were using screens to find fossilized shark teeth and such. (I just floated along and took pictures.) Back at camp that evening, someone at the campground was showing off his find: a mammoth tooth! And part of a mammoth jaw bone! Through the grapevine, I heard this person found more related bones, and his collection went to the state natural history museum — but I can’t vouch for that info 100%.

Anyway, today’s Miami Herald reports mammoth remains have been found in Big Cypress National Preserve, in a canal. If you’re interested, the article has more details and links.

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National park rangers face danger and the unpredictable

Last week, the National Park Service reported that a group of Cuban migrants were smuggled onto an island in Dry Tortugas National Park — where so far this year, 509 migrants have landed, the park says, and 12 drop-offs of migrants have taken place. (The Dry Tortugas are remote and only 90 miles from Cuba, so it’s a destination for boat runners who get paid to ferry Cubans to the States, which is illegal. However, if Cubans looking to immigrate reach U.S. land, they are allowed to stay.)

I’m not blogging about this to make any kind of statement about U.S. policy on migrants, but rather to offer appreciation for our national park rangers. Many national park rangers throughout the country have dangerous jobs. In the instance last week, one of the migrants apparently became combative, and a ranger used a taser on the person to subdue him. Rangers there also watch for poachers looking for endangered sea turtle nests; sea turtle eggs are considered a delicacy by many Caribbeans.

Rangers everywhere have to do everything from clearing fallen trees from roads to cleaning restrooms to tracking wildlife. They answer phones and file reports. They rescue stranded visitors. They come face-to-face with exotic wildlife ruining the native plants. And they come across visitors defacing or destroying our public lands. Rangers have so many jobs within their jobs — it’s not just about helping visitors learn about the park’s history. They have to be ready for everything!

Do you have a national (or state) park ranger story to share?

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Study: Biscayne National Park good for the economy

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State seeks to change designation of Big Cypress

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