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  1. #1

    can they close down Biscayne Bay?

    Public can offer input on proposed
    Biscayne park plans up to Feb. 6
    Waterfront News Writer
    Plans to prohibit the use of combustion engines – gasoline or diesel— over the ecologically fragile shallow grass flats and shorelines of Biscayne National Park are getting a lot of support from the guys who silently pole skiffs across them, sight-seeking the protruding tail fins of the park's famous bonefish. That should please the outfits promoting a canoe-kayak paddling trail around the inner perimeter of all of Biscayne Bay.
    Drafts of five preliminary alternative plans were submitted to public reaction at three hearings in December. Next step is for the Biscayne staff and the National Park Service to craft it down into one preliminary draft. The redrafted plan will be submitted to another round of public hearings
    Doing it without conflict doesn't look easy. The park encompasses most of Biscayne Bay south of Key Biscayne, about 30 miles from end to end. Side to side, it stretches from the mainland to the last reef line, a few skips from blue water. It's used by fish-catchers, cruisers, sailors, water-skiers, tubers, snorkelers, scuba divers, bird-watchers, paddlers, gregarious rafter-uppers and people who can't stand crowds.
    Of the five draft proposals, Alternative One advocates making no changes in the almost-anything-goes current management plan. It is virtually certain not to be enacted.
    The other, curtail of access for just about everyone. "This is overkill, but there's no question we have to do something because of the growing population of South Florida and the continuing growth of the Homestead area," said Phil Gibboney, a retired Eastern Airlines pilot. "They have to change something."
    Gibboney moved from South Dade to Stuart five years ago, but still drives two hours each way at least once a week to launch his shallow-water skiff to the Arsenicker and Rubicon Keys from Homestead Bayfront Park. Well-enforced limits should protect his favorite flats from gouging by the skegs and propellers of powerboats that draw too deep to be there in the first place, even at high tide.
    Fishermen's approval of no-combustion zones isn't complete: Most who attended the hearings argued that the proposed zones are unnecessarily large. At one public hearing, held in Miami and attended by 46 people, Park Superintendent Linda Canzanelli said none of the no-combustion zones, other access controls or mapped alternative plans on the table are etched in stone. "If you basically like an alternative but you'd like to change it by adding a zone, removing a zone or making other changes, let us know," she said.
    Almost everyone there did. They bent the ears of biologist Todd Kellison and others who listened, explained and wrote suggestions down.
    One of the people the park staff met is Phil Gibboney's bonefishing partner, Steve Petersen, who spent much of his childhood on the park's keys and waters. He saw that most of the no-combustion zones now proposed would stop powerboats at the closest three-foot depth to a flat or shoreline. That makes engine-restricted surface areas way too wide, Petersen said: "I'm thinking more like a foot-and-a-half to two feet."
    He had the same idea about Arsenicker and West Arsenicker Keys, which are identified as "sensitive resources" and encircled with off-limits zones 500 feet wide on every alternative plan Petersen and others made the point that there's water as deep as five feet quite close to the eastern side of each of those mangrove islands, so no need to ban engines there. Lanzendorf said the layouts for those and other zones can be modified. "It doesn't have to be a pretty little band of circles on a map."
    Canzanelli emphasized that whatever the depth standard turns out to be, engine-boaters who find pockets or unmarked channels that deep within no-combustion zones will be allowed to use their engines at idle speed as long as they have enough water beneath. Any shallower, they'll have to tilt their engines up and pole the rest of the way — or use an electric trolling motor, paddle, or get out and walk their boats off the flat.
    A week before the hearings, this reporter joined Gibboney, Petersen and Dave Stone on a bonefishing trip. Among the Arsenickers, our first stop, we saw plenty of bottom gouges through the clear, still water near low tide. A few were in pairs, made by twin-engine boats — just about impossible to run there at any tidal stage without hitting bottom.
    Nearly all the trenches were long, indicating that boaters who found themselves in too-shallow water chose to hit the throttles and try to plane across, rather than back off to deeper water. "They haven't a clue," Gibboney said, crediting the gougers credit with ignorance, not malice.
    Park rangers have caught plenty of people ripping up the flats on purpose, said Lanzendorf, the archeologist, but she knows plenty of others do it by mistake. "I've run a Park Service boat aground on Featherbed myself."
    Featherbed is the most vulnerable spot in the park for accidental groundings. It's right in mid-bay, with the Intracoastal Waterway channel cutting through it. Mistakes are made often by boaters looking for shortcuts to Sands and Boca Chita keys, or aiming at the wrong angle for distant channel markers.
    Lanzendorf said the eastern section is too badly damaged for passive recovery; fill will have to be hauled in and seagrass transplanted to restore it. All the draft alternatives designate it as a no-combustion zone.
    Fishing access was only one of many topics discussed and argued at the public hearings. Here's a sampling of suggestions posted on easels around the room:
    •All boaters should be required to take a captain's course for safety purposes and to follow park regulations.
    •Put more visitor contact stations in the north end.
    •Get rid of commercial shrimping in the bay.
    • Don't place the "safety valve" shoals between Stiltsville and Soldier Key off limits, but prevent damaging groundings by marking the navigable channels there.
    •Open channels in Midnight Pass and the Rubicon Keys, and from Hurricane Creek into Jones Lagoon.
    •Don't make a no-combustion zone between the Homestead Bayfront Park and Convoy Point channels.
    •Instead of no-combustion zones, improve the markings of channels and other access routes.
    • Build camping chickees on platforms in the bay to reduce the impact of camping on Elliott and Adams Keys, and refurbish the existing campsites.
    • Set up information kiosks at Crandon, Matheson Hammock, Black Point and other marinas leading to the park, and require boaters to have marine charts.
    •Increase concession outlets near camping areas.

    Anyone who wants to study the preliminary draft alternatives (see box), criticize them or make suggestions has until Feb. 6 to submit comments.

    Up close
    You can review Biscayne National Park's draft alternatives for a general management plan online or request the material on paper in English or Spanish. The deadline for public commentary is Feb. 6.
    Online, start at
    That is Superintendent Linda Canzanelli's welcome page and explanation of the project.
    Page down three times for blue links to Newsletter #3, (detailed maps illustrating each preliminary alternative plan) and a summary matrix, describing eight types of management zones drawn on the maps.
    Next comes a response form to print and fill out with your suggestions and criticism, and an e-mail link — another way of submitting your comments to the National Park Service. Near the top of the superintendent's letter, there's a link to a separate Fisheries Management Plan.
    To see it all on paper, call 305-230-7275, extension zero. You'll be sent a package including maps and explanations of each preliminary plan and a comment form for your own ideas.
    You can also send a written request to the National Park Service's Denver Service Center, attention Margaret DeLaura, PDS, at 12795 West Alameda Parkway, PO Box 2587, Denver CO 80225-9901.

  2. #2
    Charter Member #34 Charter Member Dock Holiday's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Beautiful North Carolina

    I think anything is possible.

    The boating industry in Florida is going to be history if the boaters don't ban together and stop some of this soon!

    It is bad enough with all the Manatee zones!


  3. #3
    Platinum Member Platinum Member CigDaze's Avatar
    My Boats:
    Cigarette 35 Cafe Racer
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    Jun 2001
    St. Petersburg, FL
    This isn't looking good.
    The enviros have found another target.

  4. #4
    Registered BattleCry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Completely Nationwide

  5. #5
    Registered georges's Avatar
    My Boats:
    1978 Pantera 24 (sold) 1988 Donzi 18 Classic
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    Feb 2001
    Cape Coral Fl
    The reason a lot of us are in Florida is to enjoy the water, which includes boating, all forms of it.
    Now they are trying to selectively discriminate against certain types of boating activities, specifically anything with engine(s).
    These are the same scumbag, long haired, maggot and lice infested, dope smoking, liberal, clinton voting, canoe paddling, anti establishment, lawyer burnouts leftover from the 60's.
    Enough already!
    How do we bury them?

  6. #6
    Registered Formula Outlaw's Avatar
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    was a 89" Formula 311-SR1
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    May 2003
    In the Mountains
    Join a boating club.
    Better yet, join "Standing Watch", a boating coalition dedicated to preserving boaters rights in Florida.
    Go to or call 806-263-5015

  7. #7
    We need to make some noise about this, FPC just found out about this situation, and we are doing what we can. But to stop this from happening, we need your support. If you could take the time to make a call or send a letter. I will post information as it becomes available.

  8. #8
    VIP Member VIP Member OldSchool's Avatar
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    Cigarette CC and Boston Whaler currently
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Originally posted by georges
    The reason a lot of us are in Florida is to enjoy the water, which includes boating, all forms of it.
    Now they are trying to selectively discriminate against certain types of boating activities, specifically anything with engine(s).
    These are the same scumbag, long haired, maggot and lice infested, dope smoking, liberal, clinton voting, canoe paddling, anti establishment, lawyer burnouts leftover from the 60's.
    Enough already!
    How do we bury them?
    How do you really feel about it?

    That really blows!! Are they talking about the entire Biscayne Bay or just the flats?

  9. #9
    All of Biscayne Bay national park will be affected by this plan, including up to 7 miles offshore!

  10. #10
    GLH is offline
    Platinum Member Platinum Member GLH's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
    Burlington, VT
    "Phil Gibboney, a retired Eastern Airlines pilot"

    Old bat's got to be 80 years old, Eastern went belly-up 20 years ago and Pilots are out at 60.

    "Gibboney moved from South Dade to Stuart five years ago, but still drives two hours each way at least once a week to launch his shallow-water skiff..."

    Yahh right, these three dimensional bus drivers (read pilots) are so cheap they wont drive 5 minutes anywhere if they have to cough up anything. I bet that guy goes there once a month on a very good month. He moved probably taking advantages of the rise in real-estate because of the development and now he's trying to impose his will on the people that he sold his property too...he doesn't live there anymore.

    The Resorts, restaurants and people relying on tourism $ in that area should be contacted, they are probably the biggest contributers to the local tax base. And will end up suffering the most, those save the whalers tree hunging bark chewers don't spend the $ to boost local economies.

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