Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge meetings scheduled - expansion of access

PinmanPinman Posts: 1,283 Officer

Meetings scheduled for public input about opening access for Deer Hunting, camping, and "gasp"... allowing airboats in the Everglades

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-reg-loxahatchee-hunting-hiking-20180503-story.html

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Replies

  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 1,604 Captain
    Let's hope! This place has been poorly managed for the past 35-40 years. Actually, the only real successful management practice this place has enjoyed is keeping the public out or unreasonably handcuffed. They have consistently squandered millions of dollars on petty projects, and failed invasive vegetation treatments. They have locked the public out from accessing  the bulk of the area while using it as a personal playground. They have pandered to certain, specific groups while unfairly alienating others.

    It was good to see the Feds enlist and utilize the help of public airboaters last week to help remove a structure in a closed area. This is possibly something that all parties can benefit from. I just hope they don't nix the extra hunting opportunities and only allow yoga out of the things on the table.... I'm sure this will be a tough battle with allot of resistance, but let's hope some common sense and mutual appreciation prevails. Get your comments in.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 7,381 Admiral
    NAMASTE
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 18,484 AG
    Channel 5 news mentioned having weddings out there.
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 1,917 Captain
    Long time work on access and rules (since about 2003)....finally a "gator hunt", although relatively token, a few years ago...After extreme opposition from the large anti hunting element here....We have been looking at some way to access the northern part of the Refuge from the expensive "boat ramp to nowhere" constructed several years ago on the rim canal....(STA 1W check station is there)....the north end is very dry...and very difficult terrain...not even airboats a lot of the time...but, from "rumors" full of big deer....Another option is expanding the current "public access zone" at the south end of the Refuge further north to open up more duck hunting, gator hunting areas...BUT, the one item more likely to happen is bow hunting on the newly acquired Stazzula Parcial...a cypress swamp mostly....on the east side of the Refuge adjacent to Wellington...We will see....Usually about 40% of a NWR is open to hunting...LOX has about 30% open to duck and gator currently....the southern end marshes with the boat ramp at the end of Loxahatchee Rd.
  • gladesmangladesman Posts: 816 Officer
    NAMASTE
       And what does NAMASTE mean in English?
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 1,604 Captain
    gladesman said:
    NAMASTE
       And what does NAMASTE mean in English?
    Google it... Benelli only knows what it means because of his yoga classes.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 7,381 Admiral
    Bowing to the god's who made this happen= namaste
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 689 Officer
    Bowing to the god's who made this happen= namaste
    Watch out Newton. He might start worshiping you. 
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 7,381 Admiral
    Newton may think im crazy or whatever,but he knows I appreciate him overall
  • bgeorgebgeorge Plant City FLPosts: 1,293 Officer
    Newton may think im crazy or whatever,but he knows I appreciate him overall

    We are all a little crazy.  We may not all agree on every issue but there is a lot of good that can be had if some can set a few issues aside.  Find the core and work to support it and those who burn the rubber getting in front of the agencies. .
    The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. Hopefully the next man is not dropping his stones on the mountain you are trying to move.
  • gladesmangladesman Posts: 816 Officer
    Big Mak said:
    gladesman said:
    NAMASTE
       And what does NAMASTE mean in English?
    Google it... Benelli only knows what it means because of his yoga classes.
    Dang - I thought that was a joke - googled it - No Joke.  :) Just kind of surprised to see yoga talk here, So much for the hunter stereotype.
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 689 Officer
    gladesman said:
    Big Mak said:
    gladesman said:
    NAMASTE
       And what does NAMASTE mean in English?
    Google it... Benelli only knows what it means because of his yoga classes.
    Dang - I thought that was a joke - googled it - No Joke.  :) Just kind of surprised to see yoga talk here, So much for the hunter stereotype.
    I don’t think anybody expects hunters to be doing yoga. 
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 7,381 Admiral
    I used to do Tai Chi and practiced in outdoor squares in China early in the morning with the villagers. It was an amazing experience and taught people how to have balance in their life.

    Used to do yoga here but i'm a sweater like I loose 5 or more lbs a session and learned that the GOUT monsters love to take advantage of a dehydrated body!

    Getting off track here as usual but stretching does a body good... but for the record people who do yoga poses and post them on FB or anywhere else..nah, that's not acceptable. I did it for my profession back then but still try to keep in shape.
    Maybe we can have the very first camo outdoor yoga class at the visitor center we can let the mother duck Newton run it...find our chee, launch our boats then go kill some sheet!
  • spanglerspangler Posts: 351 Deckhand
    Sooo... should I being doing Yoga in off season?? :p
  • spanglerspangler Posts: 351 Deckhand
    And back on topic, looks like Zinke is gonna be good for access.
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 1,604 Captain
    Get your recommendations in to Rolf Olsen at the refuge. If you are not familiar with this area and need ideas you can pm me or Newton. You can be sure that the emotionally driven gangs of intolerants will be making their usual unscientific based noise  trying to denigrate any additional hunting opportunities and any additional access opportunities. 

    The fact is, there is ample room for everyone to coexist peacefully on the refuge. Even a yoga class led by Benelli will be compatible with a deer hunt as long as mutual respect is given. 


  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 689 Officer
    spangler said:
    And back on topic, looks like Zinke is gonna be good for access.
    The minwr guys need to get on the Zinke train. If Loxahatchee ends up having more hunting access than minwr in a year or two that will be shocking. 
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 689 Officer
    Newton,

    I read your comments on the uwf website. Will it be ok for me to bring my two young children on May 19th?  I can’t risk their safety, however they are huge duck eaters and can’t wait to go duck hunting with daddy when they are older. 

    Also,  so as to show more unity and not step on the toes of other hunting groups (myself and many others want increases in all hunting) can uwf or some other group but out a form letter which we can either send in or modify slightly that maximizes our power of message to increase public hunting access and hunting opportunities in general?

    Are any other people planning on taking their kids May 19?
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 1,604 Captain
    edited May 10 #20
    I'm on duty both dates (naturally) but have already submitted my first set of action items and left it open ended letting them know I will likely be adding things as we get closer to the meeting.

    I'm hesitant to show my hand publicly lest the tree hugging nutcases have ample time to concoct defensive lies to refute. Heck, I'm mad at Newt already for talking publicly about "big deer" on the refuge... Hopefully he keeps his mouth closed about the albino deer there...
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 7,381 Admiral
    U should see the size of the peacocks
  • bgeorgebgeorge Plant City FLPosts: 1,293 Officer
    H20dad said:
    Newton,

    I read your comments on the uwf website. Will it be ok for me to bring my two young children on May 19th?  I can’t risk their safety, however they are huge duck eaters and can’t wait to go duck hunting with daddy when they are older. 

    Also,  so as to show more unity and not step on the toes of other hunting groups (myself and many others want increases in all hunting) can uwf or some other group but out a form letter which we can either send in or modify slightly that maximizes our power of message to increase public hunting access and hunting opportunities in general?

    Are any other people planning on taking their kids May 19?

    On a side note I once heard FWC staff say how they count those chain letters as a single response and do not give them as much weight as a unique personal response. 
    The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. Hopefully the next man is not dropping his stones on the mountain you are trying to move.
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 1,917 Captain
    There will not be any violence at these meetings...the LEOS will be there....May be some emotional "crying" by some of the antis....they also sometimes bring their kids to stand up and talk about "murdering the deer" (or bear, or ducks)...but, I am not sure how the Public Comment is going to be done...I am reluctant for UW-F to prepare a "position statement" until we get through these meetings....just do not know the scope of what the Refuge Staff is considering...Other than my long experience with them and I have pointed out in the long post above about what I think will be presented...

    The easiest thing for them to do is expand the hunting area at the south end of the Refuge for duck and gator hunting.  Next..add more gator permits....Next...add bow hunting on the Strazzula addition near Wellington (that means adding a species, deer/hogs, and could mean a three year process on "impact", etc....)...A more difficult project would be opening some part of the northern Refuge near 20 Mile Bend...a boat ramp is there, but no real place to get out of the rim canal into the interior of the Refuge...And, an even more difficult issue is the adding of mud motors and/or air boats....Doesn't hurt to ask, but answer has been NO for a long time....
  • godvlmangodvlman Posts: 263 Deckhand
    H20dad said:
    Newton,

    I read your comments on the uwf website. Will it be ok for me to bring my two young children on May 19th?  I can’t risk their safety, however they are huge duck eaters and can’t wait to go duck hunting with daddy when they are older. 

    Also,  so as to show more unity and not step on the toes of other hunting groups (myself and many others want increases in all hunting) can uwf or some other group but out a form letter which we can either send in or modify slightly that maximizes our power of message to increase public hunting access and hunting opportunities in general?

    Are any other people planning on taking their kids May 19?
    Your sure want UW to do alot for you over the last few months??  Are you even a member? 
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 1,604 Captain
    Newt, for chissakes, you sound defeated already! This is the time to push back and push for more. We have the ear of a hunter friendly DOI who, along with SFWMD, and their renewed lease to the Feds for this refuge and all three are TELLING the staff to add recreational opportunities!  Let's not **** foot around. They can add these opportunities and strip them with a stroke of a pen. That's the beautiful thing about being a refuge manager! At this time I would ask that Benelli pull out his notes and produce Exhibit A- which I posted somewhere in a MINWR thread- that says the refuge manager can do whatever he wants if it is compatible with the mission.

    There is absolutely no good SCIENTIFIC reason deer hunting, airboats, increased hunt area, and a largely lost to invasives and "unusable" northern segment cannot be opened up tomorrow. That is the truth, and that's what everyone should be saying. Nothing less, and possibly more!

    These guys burn $9m a season failing to kill malelueca and ferns in the northern section. They burn $10m on a ridiculous visitors center with a fake airboat ride in the lobby. They squander tens of thousands of dollars planting freaking cypress around the common areas while neglecting the interior of any meaningful management.

    I know these guys are your buddies, but come on man. This is not impossible. There has never been a better moment in the history of Newt Cook residing in Florida to reclaim the historical recreational opportunities that were stripped in the 70s. The other two WCAs allow these things. They are compatible with sound, biological practices and this would allow for better land stewardship from a large partnership with members of the public who aren't afraid to get dirty to benefit the habitat and animal life on the refuge. This was illustrated a couple weeks ago with an Armada of publicly owned and operated airboats that helped with required field work.

    I'll admit it won't be easy, but it certainly isn't impossible and it doesn't have to take three years to put into action. This is the time to ask, not go into negotiations defeated.
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 1,604 Captain
    Newt, for chissakes, you sound defeated already! This is the time to push back and push for more. We have the ear of a hunter friendly DOI who, along with SFWMD, and their renewed lease to the Feds for this refuge and all three are TELLING the staff to add recreational opportunities!  Let's not **** foot around. They can add these opportunities and strip them with a stroke of a pen. That's the beautiful thing about being a refuge manager! At this time I would ask that Benelli pull out his notes and produce Exhibit A- which I posted somewhere in a MINWR thread- that says the refuge manager can do whatever he wants if it is compatible with the mission.

    There is absolutely no good SCIENTIFIC reason additional alligator hunting, deer hunting, airboats, increased waterfowl hunt area, and a largely lost to invasives and "unusable" northern segment cannot be opened up tomorrow. That is the truth, and that's what everyone should be saying. Nothing less, and possibly more!

    These guys burn $9m a season failing to kill malelueca and ferns in the northern section. They burn $10m on a ridiculous visitors center with a fake airboat ride in the lobby. They squander tens of thousands of dollars planting freaking cypress around the common areas while neglecting the interior of any meaningful management. If anything, they should be reported to the DOI on a regular basis!

    I know these guys are your buddies, but come on man. This is not impossible. There has never been a better moment in the history of Newt Cook residing in Florida to reclaim the historical recreational opportunities that were stripped in the 70s. The other two WCAs allow these things. They are compatible with sound, biological practices and this would allow for better land stewardship from a large partnership with members of the public who aren't afraid to get dirty to benefit the habitat and animal life on the refuge. This was illustrated a couple weeks ago with an Armada of publicly owned and operated airboats that helped with required field work.

    I'll admit it won't be easy, but it certainly isn't impossible and it doesn't have to take three years to put into action. This is the time to ask. 
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 1,604 Captain
    Newt, for chissakes, you sound defeated already! This is the time to push back and push for more. We have the ear of a hunter friendly DOI who, along with SFWMD, and their renewed lease to the Feds for this refuge and all three are TELLING the staff to add recreational opportunities!  Let's not wussy foot around. They can add these opportunities and strip them with a stroke of a pen. That's the beautiful thing about being a refuge manager! At this time I would ask that Benelli pull out his notes and produce Exhibit A- which I posted somewhere in a MINWR thread- that says the refuge manager can do whatever he wants if it is compatible with the mission.

    There is absolutely no good SCIENTIFIC reason additional alligator hunting, deer hunting, airboats, increased waterfowl hunt area, and a largely lost to invasives and "unusable" northern segment cannot be opened up tomorrow. That is the truth, and that's what everyone should be saying. Nothing less, and possibly more!

    These guys burn $9m a season failing to kill malelueca and ferns in the northern section. They burn $10m on a ridiculous visitors center with a fake airboat ride in the lobby. They squander tens of thousands of dollars planting freaking cypress around the common areas while neglecting the interior of any meaningful management. If anythingey should be reported to the DOI!

    I know these guys are your buddies, but come on man. This is not impossible. There has never been a better moment in the history of Newt Cook residing in Florida to reclaim the historical recreational opportunities that were stripped in the 70s. The other two WCAs allow these things. They are compatible with sound, biological practices and this would allow for better land stewardship from a larger partnership with members of the public who aren't afraid to get dirty to benefit the habitat and animal life on the refuge. This was illustrated a couple weeks ago with an Armada of publicly owned and operated airboats that helped with required field work.

    I'll admit it won't be easy, but it certainly isn't impossible and it doesn't have to take three years to put into action. This is the time to ask. 
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 7,381 Admiral
    What Mak said...

    Any seriously newt? I've got 550 dyno'd HP that says I can get in and out anywhere I want " a boat ramp is there, but no real place to get out of the rim canal into the interior of the Refuge." pleeeze
  • N. CookN. Cook Posts: 1,917 Captain
    I am not discouraging any one from asking for the best deal....BUT, several of the  comments above are wrong.  The USFWS spends $1.3 million on exotics.  That is why the District threatened  to take the land back.  The need is $5 million for 5 years and then $3 miilion per year.  Last year the FWC volunteered and gave $2 million...We found out the UWFWS did not even ask Congress for the $5 million.....and the SFWMD demanded a better deal.  That deal has been negotiated, with more Federal help along with the FWC, for the next 25 years.  l spoke in favor of the District taking the land back unless the Feds came up with more funds.  The new deal is acceptable.  Regarding the Visitor Center,  Refuges have public visitor  and educational services.  The building and boat ramps etc.....But....the "simulated airboat" and all the interior furnishings were paid for by $300,000 of donations....I help raise some of that money via the Arthur Marshall Foundation.  Regarding "science" for more access....I totally agree the Refuge could be opened to more hunting and airboats...at least 40% as is the norm for NWRs.  However, the Refuge manager cannot just add access with a "stroke of a pen"......The USFWS is a Federal bureaucracy and there are strict procedures...and they can take  up to three years...to add hunting programs (and other new access).  As a member of the TRUST Group, we have added new hunting to several refuges over the last 8 years.  Recently deer hunting to MINWR for example.  You simply have to go through the bureaucratic process to get there!....It is a lot easier to add to an established hunt....ie. the adding of the Early Teal Season UW-F got several years ago to the LOX duck hunt....Harder to get a new species as anyone who went through  the Gator Hunt battle will tell you....about five years.  It is important we get a deer hunt, even just a bow hunt in Strazzula while we have the hunter friendly administration in DC...as once we get the deer species in the Hunt Plan, it can be extended over a larger area without a lot of bureaucracy involved...Just as today we can get more gator hunting...and more duck hunting.....territory and expand the Public Access Area at the south end of the Refuge.  When you get to the meeting you will see many of those who worked to remove the old structure in LOX recently....most are also members of the TRUST Group....with well over five years of working with the FWC, USFWS, and the NWR Association to add new hunting and access to all the Refuges in Florida...with some success and more to come.....My comments are not to discourage anyone...as I said....but to be sure people understand the process and "difficulties" of dealing with the Federal bureaucracy, especially the time factors.....I look forward to seeing you at the meetings...
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 7,381 Admiral
    Im still 100% in favor of SFWMD taking it back as it should have never left 
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 1,604 Captain
    edited May 13 #31
    I agree... SFWMD should have kicked the Fred's out. I also remember hearing Rolf tell everyone at a meeting a couple years ago that they were losing the battle against exotic places with a $9m price tag.. I stand by  the notionn it's grossly mismanaged. I can see I'll be going back to Zinke's office.
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