Save Fort Clinch State Park, keep people and wildlife safe! #1

The Rick Scott administration plans to allow hunting in all Florida state parks. Other planned activities include but not limited to: logging, cattle grazing and mining.

- We need to keep the people of Fernandina Beach safe. Imagine walking on the beach, SUP boarding or kayaking in the creek, fishing in the river, having your property next to the park, or in any other way being close to the park and in the proximity of a bullet from a hunters gun.

- Make sure the tourism industry of Amelia Island doesn't take a hit. If the hunting is allowed it probably means the park will be closed for the hunting period. The historic fort, camping area, bike and hiking trails, the beach and the wildlife at Fort Clinch are a huge part of many tourists interest to visit our island. Hunting and the other possible plans for the park would definitely have a negative impact on anyone who works in tourism.

- Protect the partly very rare wildlife such as the Bobcats in Fort Clinch. The hunt plan currently allows the hunting of pretty much anything that is alive. Development and human impact have already affected our island's wildlife populations. This could desecrate whatever is left.

Dear Senator Aaron Bean,

Growing up in Fernandina Beach, you understand why it is so important to protect every one of our wonderful island's natural resources.The problem is that under pressure from the FL DEP's Secretary Jon Steverson, the DEP's parks and land staff created a plan called "Optimized Land Management and Cost Recovery" that suggests cattle grazing, timber cutting, mining, and hunting as 'action steps' to create new revenue schemes for all Florida State Parks.

This is a misguided moneymaking scheme that will put all of Florida's award winning State Parks in jeopardy, including Fort Clinch. Initially considered for only the largest parks, the 'hunting' category has expanded to all of the state's 161 parks. We must get Fort Clinch taken off the list of parks being considered for hunting as a possible revenue stream.

Fort Clinch State Park is part of the wildlife corridor of Amelia Island, which represents some of the last places for wildlife to thrive on this island. Both Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island are popular vacation and recreation attractions. We are also a thriving residential community. We need to keep visitors and residents safe. Hunting in Fort Clinch is a public safety hazard because within rifle range of the Fort are condominium complexes, residential areas, boaters, and beachgoers.

I respectfully request that you, as my state representative, work on my behalf and on the behalf of the numerous other Fernandina Beach residents who oppose this measure, until Fort Clinch is taken off any potential State Park List that allows hunting. Fort Clinch State Park is a public nature preserve and supposedly state law entrusts FL DEP to "conserve these natural values" for all time and "without depleting them" so that residents and visitors alike can appreciate Fernandina's history and beauty. The Fort is a major part of the conservation balance of Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island. I want it to stay that way.

I further request that you, Senator Aaron Bean, represent my hometown values and tell Steverson to keep "Hands Off Fort Clinch". Florida's natural beauty is more than a retail opportunity. It's a public trust that Steverson and our governor must protect, to hand down one day for the next generation.

Thank you.

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