A little while back Jules and I traveled down to STA 5 and 6 where we were dismayed to find not a lot of water going anywhere but over to US Sugar lands.
One the way back we stopped here and hung out with the cows. Out here you are seriously out in the middle of nowhere.
They have hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, camping horseback riding, biking and scenic driving. There was a bad rain storm do we didn’t get all the way through but saw enough to say we would definitely get back there.
What is a WMA?
What is Florida’s Wildlife Management Area System?
Florida’s Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system is managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to sustain the widest possible range of native wildlife in their natural habitats. These lands are more rugged than parks, with fewer developed amenities.
This system includes more than 5.8 million acres of land established as WMAs or Wildlife and Environmental Areas (WEAs).
Cooperative Areas – On the majority of these lands (about 4.4 million acres), FWC is a cooperating manager working with other governmental or private landowners to conserve wildlife and provide public use opportunities.
Lead Areas – On the remaining lands (about 1.4 million acres), FWC is the landowner or “lead” managing agency responsible for land stewardship and providing quality wildlife conservation and recreation opportunities including hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, paddling, scenic driving, and camping.
There are loads of critters that live there including the Florida Panther.
So this is a great place for conservationists and hunters alike. A place for all of us.
There’s a place for us.
So I was very distressed to read this on our favorite Blog EYE on MIami.
Message from South Florida Wildlands Association: Threats to Everglades from FPL and oil drillers
“Matthew Schwartz, of South Florida Wildlands Association, provides a good summary of the ongoing threats to the Everglades by oil drillers and FPL. Please consider joining and contributing to their efforts.”
You can read the letter at link but here are the highlights:
“In the years since South Florida Wildlands has been working to protect wildlife and habitat in the Greater Everglades, we have never faced a combination of issues that have such capacity to destroy and degrade this unique landscape. Folks who live in South Florida and follow local media are aware that a company (Kanter Real Estate LLC) has just applied for a permit to drill for oil and dig limestone mines on 20,000 acres of Everglades it owns in Broward County.
But that’s not all. We recently learned that Florida and Power and Light (FPL) is still intent on developing 3,000 acres of primary Florida panther habitat they bought just north of the Big Cypress National Preserve and Seminole Reservation for the purpose of building the largest gas-fired electrical generating plant in the nation. Having lost a lawsuit with the Seminole Tribe of Florida over agricultural zoning on the property, FPL is now asking Hendry County to create a new land use type (Electrical Generating Facility) and move the property into that new classification.
The FPL property is surrounded by public lands that were acquired at tremendous cost and effort (e.g. the Big Cypress National Preserve, Dinner Island Wildlife Management Area, Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest) and contain some of the most important contiguous upland habitat for Florida panthers, black bears, and other wildlife in South Florida. For years, the entire property had been expected to be protected by a Florida Forever land protection project called “Panther Glades.” Unfortunately, funds were never available to complete that purchase prior to FPL buying the land for their own purposes. From the standpoint of our stressed out wildlife in South Florida, FPL could not have chosen a worse location for their new power plant if they had tried.
But wait – there’s more. In the Big Cypress National Preserve, another company (Burnett Oil Company of Ft. Worth, Texas) is applying for a permit to conduct seismic testing for oil across 110 square miles (70,000 acres) in the heart of the preserve. The intent is to locate oil deposits before opening up the Big Cypress to additional oil drilling. A federal comment period is open until the middle of August. For those wondering how this can take place inside a national preserve – most of the below ground oil rights are owned by a company named Collier Resources while the National Park Service controls only the surface. Collier Resources has leased some of these rights to Burnett Oil for the purpose of the seismic survey. Another news story from the Sun-Sentinel summarizes this project – which would take place on some of the most sensitive and biodiverse wetlands in Florida:
Feel free to call or email on any of the above with comments or questions.
South Florida Wildlands Association
1404 East Las Olas Blvd.
P.O. Box 30211
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33303
Please pay attention to this!
I had hoped to spend the summer visiting state parks and wild life management areas in Florida. We call this our adventure days and I amazed at all the wonderful things we have seen so far. if you other citizen journalists want to do this also please take some photos and videos and write us a guest blog. We need to show the world the beautiful Florida that we all know and love. We need to show our fellow Floridians what we are protecting. Let’s do this!