Proposed Everglades Pathway: A Waste of Resources

Categories: WTFlorida
Don't worry about the alligators! Shhh. Experience the Everglades.

Late last week, a great call went out among the bureaucracies to assemble behind an apparently innocuous, win-win plan: an automobile-free pathway cutting through the Everglades so that walkers and bikers can enjoy the quiet beauty of the park without concern. Who could be against that? It was perfect PR.

Problem is, protectionist organizations say, there are already loads of options for bikers to explore the park -- and this 75-mile pathway, which is expected to shoot beside the Tamiami Trail, is just another manifestation of bureaucratic waste that may damage one of the world's rarest ecosystems.

"What's the problem that we're trying to solve with this?" asked Dawn Shirreffs, program manager of Everglades Restoration. "There are numerous ways to access the Everglades' resources by foot and bicycle, and we need to consider whether adding more is worthwhile."

Already, the Florida Department of Transportation, Miami-Dade County, Collier County, and that National Park Service have gotten behind the pathway, the River of Grass Greenway.

They say the path will afford an opportunity for people to experience the Everglades without chugging more carbon gas into the environs -- you know, for the time you finally embark on that 75-mile walk you've been meaning to do for years.

It's unclear whether there will be any rest stops halfway through the path or some means to replenish one's rations while walkers "experience" all of the alligators, snakes, and absence of drinking water.

Indeed, the only part of the plan that's intended to affect the Everglades is the pathway itself, which will be paved and may become a "barrier" decreasing water flow to and fro, Shirreffs said.

"The overarching message is why would we take an activity that would degrade the ecosystem when cyclists can already go [elsewhere in the Everglades] and get a pristine view?" Shirreffs said. "Our first effort needs to encourage existing opportunities, not present more plans that will degrade the Everglades."

Organizers, who have already netted $5 million, say igniting public support is essential to getting this pathway done, which they hope to complete within the next few years.

Over the next month, there will be a series of workshops to pow-wow with the public.

Shirreff's offers one early idea: Don't do it.

The forests already have "miles and miles" of public trails, she said.

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Our organization, Love The Everglades Movement, is collaborating with Bobby C. Billie, an indigenous spiritual leader, who is spear-heading a coalition-building direct action known as WALK FOR MOTHER EARTH.  More information here:

This protest march is scheduled for March 29 - April 2.  It will cover the entire 75 mile from Naples to Miami.  Camping will be available at Trail Lakes Campground for those who would like to participate.

Evening fireside chats at the campground will provide opportunities for discussion about the negative environmental impacts of the bike path; how the Greenway will displace indigenous communiites; obliterate sites of cultural, historical, and spiritual significance; and how it will undermine Everglades Restoration efforts, such as the Central Everglades Planning Project.

The consensus on Everglades Restoration is working on raising Tamiami Trail with bridges, and this would present another impediment to water flow.

Please join us in demonstrating our opposition to this misguided effort.


I would only support this trail if every corrupt South Florida politician was required to walk the entire 75-mile route barefoot in mid-July, and if the trail was officially named the "Everglades Trail of Death". Also, the list of corrupt politicians has to include Rick "Medicare Fraud" Scott, and he has to be the first to walk the trail.


This is actually a very good idea, there is a Ragner relay series. That one goes from Miami to Key West, why not one that goes this route & back ?

frankd4 topcommenter

any and i mean any intrusion by concrete / pavement / oil is a mistake = period

however since the FANJULs have made billions of the free governement land AND this is south florida

THESE things are built primarily to keep the commissioners wheels greased as they are PRIME funds to allow maximum under the table deals

police / fire / EMT overtime: during every storm someone will have to be "saved" from somewhere in the middle of this stretch which means at least three first responder teams from multiple jurisdictions will be called to save the german tourist bicycling family out there during a hurricane

maintenace expenditure: if every part of this stretch is not properly maintained we will see ambulance-chasing attorneys names and faces on gigantic lighted BILLBOARDS on every mile of the whole 75 miles comming and going of course this is J O B S creation = for both the grass cutters and the litigation support

AND FINALLY we will spend a future fifty million ($50,ooo,ooo) in tearing it ALL OUT once the environmental studies are analyzed and evidence indicates the concrete / pavement / oil really was a big mistake


a waste of money, there are already "miles and miles" of public trails in the everglades


Seems like an important question is whether it is actually going to do harm. Is it actually going to restrict water flow? What's the plan? If it's not going do cause any additional restriction because it is running alongside an existing highway, pretty cool idea.

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