Author Topic: Iconic airboats won’t be part of Everglades culture for much longer  (Read 427 times)

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Offline flowers

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http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/12/27/3838829/iconic-airboats-wont-be-part-of.html

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oday, South Florida airboat owners like Keith Price, Don Onstad and Charlie Erwin range freely throughout the East Everglades in their roaring, slough-skimming craft as they have for decades.

They buzz through the sawgrass to a lone pond apple tree they call the “Christmas Tree” — a makeshift memorial decorated with stuffed animals and topped by an American flag where several of their departed friends’ ashes have been scattered by propeller wash. They hunt for artifacts on tree islands like the Duck Club — named for a ramshackle cabin built in the 1950s that’s reputed to have hosted former President Dwight Eisenhower for duck hunting and card playing. They rescue stranded airboaters, escort Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops on slough slogs and pick up countless party balloons that float in from town.

“We are the protectors of the Everglades,” Erwin said.

But maybe not for much longer. The three Gladesmen — all longtime members of the airboat Association of Florida ranging in age from 60 to 72 — will be among the last private airboaters to operate in the vast marsh south of Tamiami Trail if officials at Everglades National Park get their way.

The park’s proposed general management plan for the next 15 to 20 years calls for an end to all private airboating in the East Everglades once the “grandfathers” who operate there now have died. The region was added to the national park in 1989, and whoever can prove he or she had a registered airboat in Miami-Dade County back then could obtain a non-transferrable, non-renewable permit to operate on designated trails only for the remainder of their lives. Park officials estimate 1,000 to 2,000 airboaters would be affected.

As for longtime commercial airboat tour operators along the Trail — Coopertown, Everglades Safari Park, and Gator Park — the park proposes to buy their properties, turn them into concessionaires and confine their operations to a “front country zone” of about 10,000 to 11,000 acres just south of the Trail. If the park’s preferred plan is adopted sometime next year, then the rest of the East Everglades — more than 80,000 acres — would be designated as wilderness with no mechanical propulsion — even bicycles — allowed.

Park planner Fred Herling says the aim is to strike a balance between the desires of airboaters and other visitors such as paddlers and hikers.

“We acknowledge private airboating and commercial airboating is an important way for people to experience the Everglades,” Herling said. “And there are people who want to experience it in a more wilderness way.”

But long-timers such as Price, Erwin and Onstad argue that the region hasn’t truly been a wilderness for a very long time, that it has been hunted, fished, frogged and farmed for centuries starting with Native Americans and culminating with the Gladesmen, whose culture has evolved over the past 100 years.

“This place is special,” Price, the 60-year-old president of the airboat association, said. “I have pictures of my daughter climbing the trees. My daughter is 40 now and still climbs the trees. They will put up markers and boundaries and tell us we can’t go there because it’s virgin land. There’s something that’s been here longer than the park’s been here and that’s Gladesmen culture. We don’t want to destroy something we want to share with our children and grandchildren. We’re just trying to hang onto our rights.”

And private airboat owners like Price are not the only ones.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/12/27/3838829/iconic-airboats-wont-be-part-of.html#storylink=cpy


Offline NavyCanDo

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Re: Iconic airboats won’t be part of Everglades culture for much longer
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2013, 03:35:19 PM »
How many times have I dreamed of driving one as I watched them on the Gentle Ben TV show or on  Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.  Not much use for them out here in the Pacific Northwest however - unless a team of dogs can be attached to them.
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Offline Cincinnatus

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Re: Iconic airboats won’t be part of Everglades culture for much longer
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2013, 03:58:37 PM »
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Park planner Fred Herling says the aim is to strike a balance between the desires of airboaters and other visitors such as paddlers and hikers.

Bull. The aim is to impose what some government bureaucrats believe is the appropriate use of the everglades.
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Online truth_seeker

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Re: Iconic airboats won’t be part of Everglades culture for much longer
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2013, 04:14:51 PM »
Nothing new here. Areas have been protected in several National Parks, such as Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite to name a few.

I grew up taking camping vacations across the West, in Scouting, etc. My father wanted us to know the great outdoors, for he grew up close to Yellowstone.

When I was stationed in Germany in 1979-1970 I noted how much cleaner the citizens kept their towns, roads, their natural resources.

Upon returning it was the same old USA with empty cans and bottles along our highways, trash every place. We have made much progress, since then.

But remember the group of yahoos, that pushed over a rock in a park in southern Utah a few weeks ago?

I'm going to come down in favor of preserving the wilderness, whenever possible.

Offline Cincinnatus

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Re: Iconic airboats won’t be part of Everglades culture for much longer
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2013, 04:35:57 PM »
Definitely a positive goal: I'm going to come down in favor of preserving the wilderness, whenever possible.

However, recall what one of the actors in this play stated:

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But long-timers such as Price, Erwin and Onstad argue that the region hasn’t truly been a wilderness for a very long time, that it has been hunted, fished, frogged and farmed for centuries starting with Native Americans and culminating with the Gladesmen, whose culture has evolved over the past 100 years.

The area is no longer "wilderness" and has not been for quite some time. Combine that with the feds desire for expanding their power, and the political pandering by this administration to the environmentalist lobby, this new policy seems less a concern for the Everglades and more a combination of a fed power grab and an expression of Gaia worship imposed by curtailing the people's use of what is supposed to be their own parks.
We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams

Online truth_seeker

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Re: Iconic airboats won’t be part of Everglades culture for much longer
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2013, 04:53:16 PM »
Definitely a positive goal: I'm going to come down in favor of preserving the wilderness, whenever possible.

However, recall what one of the actors in this play stated:

The area is no longer "wilderness" and has not been for quite some time. Combine that with the feds desire for expanding their power, and the political pandering by this administration to the environmentalist lobby, this new policy seems less a concern for the Everglades and more a combination of a fed power grab and an expression of Gaia worship imposed by curtailing the people's use of what is supposed to be their own parks.
Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite which I mentioned had some development BEFORE deciding to dial that back, in favor of preservation.

I remember visiting Zion Canyon in summer 1971, and driving my vehicle up part way into the canyon.

Yet about ten years ago, the only vehicles to go into the canyon were natural gas power shuttles. You could ride all the way, get off and walk, etc.

I'm fine with that, and I fret not that it is a fed power grab.

Offline flowers

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Re: Iconic airboats won’t be part of Everglades culture for much longer
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2013, 05:06:44 PM »
Definitely a positive goal: I'm going to come down in favor of preserving the wilderness, whenever possible.

However, recall what one of the actors in this play stated:

The area is no longer "wilderness" and has not been for quite some time. Combine that with the feds desire for expanding their power, and the political pandering by this administration to the environmentalist lobby, this new policy seems less a concern for the Everglades and more a combination of a fed power grab and an expression of Gaia worship imposed by curtailing the people's use of what is supposed to be their own parks.
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Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Iconic airboats won’t be part of Everglades culture for much longer
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2013, 11:12:17 PM »
Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite which I mentioned had some development BEFORE deciding to dial that back, in favor of preservation.

I remember visiting Zion Canyon in summer 1971, and driving my vehicle up part way into the canyon.

Yet about ten years ago, the only vehicles to go into the canyon were natural gas power shuttles. You could ride all the way, get off and walk, etc.

I'm fine with that, and I fret not that it is a fed power grab.

figures
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