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[ft-l] Cross Florida Greenway Alert - followup



Judy Trotta, Joan Hobson and I also attended the Greenways meeting in
Santos.  Sandy has done a very good job of describing the meeting here and
encapsulating the risks to the current and future FT/FNST along the
Greenway.

The meeting came about because apparently the Greenways Commision did not
have the legal right over the last couple of years which they thought as
land owner they had to name where hunting could and could not occur.  They
are now trying to rectify that situation and have prepared a "rule" to cover
hunting and recreational use on the Greenway which is open for public
comment for the next week or so.  Do not delay in sending those letters in.

The hunters want specific areas of the Greenway in which they have had
hunting rights in the past to remain open to hunting - Caravelle Ranch, Fort
McCoy, Ross Prairie, etc..  They are willing to share use of the land with
all other users.  The equestrians want the entire Greenway closed to
hunting.  My fear here is that if equestrians have their way there will be
set up certain times when the Greenway is only open to recreational use and
certain times when it is only open to hunting - a few people on both sides
thought that would be a "good compromise".  We as hikers need to stress that
the Florida NATIONAL Scenic Trail needs to be open to hiking 100% - 365 days
a year/24 hours a day.

Also that any use permits need to obtainable from the trail and not, as in
some areas, requiring advanced mail/phone communication and an exchange of
letters prior to entering the property and that the fees be only for
parking/vehicle access or waived for hikers, at least for thru-hikers.

Deb Blick


----- Original Message -----
From: <FTCracker@aol.com>
To: <ft-l@backcountry.net>
Cc: <kwimmer@fs.fed.us>; <rguhse@earthlink.net>; <FlaHikerMag@aol.com>
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2001 8:13 AM
Subject: [ft-l] Cross Florida Greenway Alert - followup


> I attended the meeting in Santos last night about the Cross Florida
Greenway,
> which turned out to be an overcrowded, heated affair, with the equestrians
> and hunters battling it out. Judy Trotta asked me to put in a few words
for
> the hikers, so I did. I focused on keeping the corridor open and
accessible
> for hiking, camping, and backpacking 365 days a year, 24 hours a day
>
> I'd like to encourage ALL of you to write to the Office of Greenways &
Trails
> AND the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission during this open comment
period.
> Your letter must reach Tallahassee by March 9th.  Here's WHY:
>
> The Office of Greenways & Trails brought a draft proposal of rules and
> regulations intended to control certain activities within the Greenway.
Three
> public forums this week, along with your written comments, will determine
how
> they proceed. I feel the following proposed rules are of greatest concern
to
> us FTA members:
>
> (14) User Fees
> (c) The office shall establish standard user fees...
>
> (19) Camping is prohibited on Greenway property except in designated
camping
> areas and sites as authorized by the office
>
> (24) Hours
> (a) The opening and closing hours for each Greenway facility shall be
posted.
> No person shall remain at any Greenway facility after closing unless
properly
> registered as an overnight visitor or in posession of a valid after hours
> permit from the Office. Said permits may be obtained from the Greenway
office
> where such after hours use is offered.
>
> These new rules could mean they require backpacking / camping permits,
which
> I personally am firmly against, unless specifically for large group
camping.
> As a long distance hiker who encourages out of state hikers to come enjoy
our
> trail, I find the existing permit process in some areas (such as Green
Swamp)
> to be problematic, as a long distance hiker generally has no idea where
they
> are going to end up camping each night, and has little access to phones
and
> mail to be able to arrange the pickup of a permit, even if it is free. If
you
> compare OUR trail to the other National Scenic Trails, we are the only
trail
> where a STATE requires permits to camp in certain places along the trail.
On
> the Appalachian Trail, only the Federal Government requires permits, and
they
> set up ranger stations along the trail in the Great Smoky Mountains and
> Shenandoah Natl Parks to make it possible to pick up the permit on foot.
>
> Please write to:
> Samantha Browne
> Office of Greenways and Trails
> Douglas Building, MS 795
> 3900 Commonwealth Blvd
> Tallahassee, FL 32399-3000
>
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