[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[ft-l] Potts Preserve trail letters needed




Hi,
	Jeff suggested that I post this request to the list.
	We are involved in trying to save the hiking trails in Potts
Preserve from being destroyed by removal of the earthen dikes that carry
the trail between islands in the property. Will you send some lobbying
letters (written letters via US Postal Service, NOT email) to Tallahassee
to support this effort?
	I don't expect everyone to write eleven letters. Just write to as
many people on this list as you feel comfortable with. Every letter helps.
We need the letters to reach Tallahassee before the January meeting of the
Cabinet. I don't know what the exact date is yet.

	This email contains all the information needed to compose and send
one or more lobbying letters to Governor Jeb Bush, his aides, and/or
Members of the Cabinet concerning the hiking trail in Potts Preserve.
	Although this letter is long, it contains information that you can
COPY and PASTE into your own letters including background, addresses,
important points concerning this issue.
	Please feel free to send me questions via email if you have any,
and if you want hard (printed) copies of any of this information, let me
know.

Thank you.

- Carl Strohmenger

____________Beginning of Potts Information Package__________

Potts Preserve Background Information

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) purchased the 8507
acre Dee River Ranch in Citrus County about ten years ago. It was re-named
"Potts Preserve" in memory of Michael T. Potts, a SWFWMD employee who died
in an accident while surveying the property prior to purchase by the
District.

Potts Preserve is a vast wetland area with scattered upland islands which
are connected by causeways (dikes) which provide access from one island
area to the next. The dikes were constructed many years ago by the owners
of Dee River Ranch.

The wetlands within Potts Preserve are an important part of the regional
surface water system, The Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes, and the Floridan
aquifer's hydrologic system. Potts Preserve is adjacent to the
Withlacoochee River and lies within it's floodplain, providing flood
storage, wildlife habitat, and protection to the area's marshes.

Potts Preserve is a beautiful property with many opportunities for outdoor
activities including hiking, horseback riding, fishing, camping, canoeing &
boating, bicycling, and nature appreciation.

The District approached the Florida Trail Association (FTA) and requested
that the FTA build a hiking trail in Potts Preserve. Over the past few
years, FTA volunteers working under guidance of District staff have spent
almost 10,000 volunteer hours in constructing 24+/- miles of hiking trails.
The hiking trail makes use of the dikes that connect the upland islands. As
part of the trail construction, a 500+ foot long bridge was constructed
through a wetland area at SWFWMD's urging and with permitted approval by
DEP.

Several years ago, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP), determined that they (DEP) had jurisdictional control of the wetland
areas of Potts Preserve. Following that determination, SWFWMD's ability to
manage the property was severely curtailed. This was followed by incursions
of airboats and small motorboats, and by hunting in the areas that are
under DEPs control.

DEP is now considering a management plan for Potts Preserve (now re-named
Potts Wildlife Management Area) that calls for the removal of the dikes
that form the causeways connecting the upland islands. The long bridge may
also be removed if the plan is approved.

This would destroy the hiking trail. Without the dikes, it will not be
possible to get mowers and other equipment into the area to maintain the
trails, and it will be very difficult for recreational users of the
property to travel very far into the property.

This issue is not about limiting airboats and small motorboats from the
property. Indeed, they have had access for most of the past three or four
years.

This issue is about whether or not the other recreational groups (hikers,
bicyclers, campers, horseback riders, etc.) will be able to access and use
the property.

_______________________________________

Significant Points to Consider in Potts Preserve

1. The removal of the dikes has not been scientifically shown to be
necessary by DEP.
2. The removal of the dikes will destroy one of the most beautiful hiking
trails in Florida. This trail is a valuable recreational resource
constructed by almost 100 volunteers working approximately 10,000 hours
under the direction of and at the request of Southwest Florida Water
Management District (SWFWMD) staff. The long bridge on the trail was
constructed by the volunteers after approval by DEP staff.
3. The pristine character of Potts Preserve is being adversely affected by
motorized traffic including pickup trucks, airboats, and small motor boats.
Removing the dikes will allow easier access via airboats and small motor
boats and hasten degradation* of the property. Failure to maintain gates
and fences will allow more pickup truck traffic and will also hasten
degradation* of the property.


*Degradation of the property includes:
1. hydrocarbon waste produced by motor oils and motor exhaust fumes;
2. destruction of water plants by airboat and small motor boat traffic;
3. pickup truck traffic through the property which leaves ruts in the damp
areas and destroys the root systems of plants leading to erosion;
4. vandalism including the destruction of a short bridge and the knocking
down of fences; and
5. trash appearing on the property due to easy access. 

__________________________________

Who Should Receive a Letter Advocating Retaining the Hiking Trail in Potts
Preserve?

Here is a list of the Names/Addresses of the Governor, his Aides, and the
Members of the Cabinet of the State of Florida:

The Honorable Jeb Bush , Governor 
        Office of Governor 
        The Capitol 
        Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001 
        (850) 488-4441 

Administrative Aides to the Governor:

Jose Boscan
Administrative Assistant
Governor Jeb Bush
210 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Ron Bulger
Administrative Assistant
Governor Jeb Bush
210 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Colleen Castille
Administrative Assistant
Governor Jeb Bush
210 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Daniel Woodring
Florida Land & Water Acquisition Commission
Governor Jeb Bush
210 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Cabinet Members:

 The Honorable Katherine Harris, Secretary of State 
        Department of State 
        The Capitol 
        Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250 
        (850) 414-5500 

 The Honorable Bob Butterworth, Attorney General 
        Department of Legal Affairs 
        The Capitol 
        Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1050 
        (850) 487-1963 

 The Honorable Robert F. Milligan, Comptroller 
        Department of Banking and Finance 
        The Capitol 
        Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0350 
        (850) 487-0370 

 The Honorable Bill Nelson, Commissioner & Treasurer 
        Department of Insurance 
        The Capitol 
        Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0300 
        850-922-3106 

 The Honorable Bob Crawford, Commissioner 
        Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services 
        The Capitol 
        Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0810 
        (850) 488-3022 

 The Honorable Tom Gallagher, Commissioner 
        Department of Education 
        The Capitol 
        Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400 
        (850) 487-1785 
        _________________________________

I have included copies of two letters that were sent to Governor Bush, his
Aides, and Members of the Cabinet. One letter is a short letter useful for
getting your name put on the list of Potts Preserve hiking trail
supporters. It can be copied verbatim and sent. The other letter states our
case in more detail and points out some environmental issues on the
property. Please feel free to use any information from this letter if you
wish to write in more detail. The important thing is to do it today!

****************

Short Sample Letter to Jose Boscan:

November 12, 1999

Jose Boscan
Administrative Assistant
Governor Jeb Bush
210 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

RE: Potts Preserve

Dear Mr. Boscan:

This letter is to voice our concern for the proposed management plan for
Potts Preserve. If the dikes were removed, which, so far, DEP has not
scientifically proven is necessary, not only will one of the most beautiful
hiking trails in Florida be destroyed, but it will allow free access by
airboats and small motorboats. This should not happen. The wetlands are too
precious. We implore you to protect this very special example of what
native Florida is and has been.

Sincerely,

Carl Strohmenger

**********

Longer, Detailed Letter to Colleen Castille:



Colleen Castille
Administrative Assistant
Governor Jeb Bush
210 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Re: Potts Preserve

Dear Ms. Castille:

This letter is to voice my concerns about the proposed management plan for
Potts Preserve WMA in Citrus County.

If the dikes are removed, which DEP has not proved is necessary, one of the
most beautiful hiking trails in Florida will be destroyed. This trail was
built by Florida Trail Association volunteers at the request of and under
the direction of SWFWMD. Approximately 10,000 hours of volunteer time was
expended in construction of this trail. The long bridge on the trail was
constructed by the volunteers after approval of DEP staff.

The beauty and pristine character of Potts Preserve is being adversely
affected by motorized traffic including 4-wheel drive pickup trucks,
airboats, and small motorboats. Removing the dikes will allow easier access
by airboats and small motorboats and accelerate degradation of the pristine
wetlands within Potts Preserve. Failure to maintain gates and fences will
allow more pickup truck traffic with additional degradation of the
property.

Degradation of the property includes:
1.	hydrocarbon waste from motors and engine exhaust fumes;
2.	destruction of water plants by airboat and motorboat traffic;
3.	erosion and destruction of plants on land as a result of pickup
truck traffic;
4.	vandalism including the destruction of a short bridge, damage to
the long bridge, and the knocking down of fences; and
5.	Trash appearing on the property due to easy access.

Our wetlands are too precious to allow this to happen. I ask you to protect
Potts Preserve with its hiking trail and wetlands intact.

Sincerely,

Carl Strohmenger

_________________ End of Potts Information ________________



* From the Florida Trail Mailing List | http://www.backcountry.net *
* From the Florida Trail Mailing List | http://www.backcountry.net *

==============================================================================
To:            ft-l@backcountry.net