It looks like we can see in the distance the end of the tunnel! If we carefully watch it, we won’t lose it. That is our reward for being considerate and conscientious. We’ve done amazingly well, considering what we were dealing with! Let’s all keep up the good work.
- Bryan Hauser sent me a picture from a paper on the other coast that showed what they were dealing with over in Miami, and because of the huge lines and over a two-hour wait, they closed their park. I believe what happened then was the boaters were all ready to get out and breathe fresh saltwater air, but when law enforcement closed the gates because of the tremendous crowds, so many of them tried to find another place to drop their boat in the water, and some came to this coast. There are other places along the east coast too, which were probably inundated with boat traffic when Miami closed, but some chose to come here to Goodland or Marco, and other places in parks along the way through the Everglades. I just heard about Goodland with a cry for help. Being that Bryan had sent me the picture, I knew what they were dealing with over there and also on Goodland, because some of the residents contacted me when they found boats and trailers along those very narrow streets with no sidewalks, and even in their front yards and I thought one said in some driveways. Thankfully, we have a dedicated Sheriff who immediately got his men out to Goodland to help solve the problem. There’s not much you can do when the drivers are already on the water but leave tickets to say you are parking on private property, etc.
I know that’s no consolation, but it helped the residents to know the Sheriff was on duty helping them. The next morning, Sunday, the Sheriff’s deputies were back on duty at the break of dawn, which probably helped a lot. I understand some boaters went to Marco Island and booked rooms at the Marriott, which came from a Marco resident, so I can’t confirm the info, but once they are booked into a hotel they can’t turn back. I’ve heard many of them didn’t even know about Caxambus, according to the County who was surprised they didn’t have more boat traffic at their boat launch park. Anyway, when people are cooped up, no matter what the situation is, they get “antsy,” and some even angry, and say or do things that would be better left unsaid. Hopefully once they got out on the water with the beautiful day which greeted them, they calmed down and came back with a better attitude, realizing we’ll get through this; it just takes a little time and patience. There are a lot of cities along the east coast that would be easier to get to for those who are still unable to get to the water and sunshine from where they live, so they can easily travel up the coast, and we encourage them to do that. Recently the news they said that people up north in N.Y. and N.J. are thinking of moving south. They said that it’s happened before, but most of the time those people move back near the communities they came from. There’s a certain lifestyle up there that is unmatched down here, and when you grow up with that lifestyle you miss it if you move away.
- I don’t know if any of you are ORV riders, but the Big Cypress National Preserve has issued their annual temporary ORV recreational use closing from April 27th to June 24th. All units of the original Preserve will be closed to ORV recreational use during this time. I would bet many people do not even realize we have this huge preserve filled with animals and unique fauna and flora, including orchids. It’s just gorgeous out there! There is so much land that is in preservation forever, and much of it is right in the Big Cypress. You’ve possibly heard of Fakahatchee Forest, Picayune Stand, Everglades National Park or Collier Seminole Park just to name a few. You hear so many people complaining about overdevelopment, but that’s because 79% of the land in Collier County is in Preserve, never to be built upon, but for all to enjoy seeing or reading about. Only a smattering of people actually goes out to see these very old Cypress Trees, or the swamps, etc. There are animals galore everywhere! You probably don’t want to go there in the summertime though. The Mosquitos will carry you away. I don’t have any idea how the early pioneers could have lived here without electricity or air conditioning or screens, but they somehow made it.
- For those who have asked about the Birding Sanctuary at the park at Eagle Lakes Park which has been closed for a few weeks, there is good news! After Mechanical Harvesting and a successful outcome, this part of the park is again open for the residents who really love to walk around the Lake and view the spectacular birds and the gorgeous natural growth. This trail is even mentioned in the national birding magazines around the country because it has so many kinds of birds and is so marvelous in its natural state. For those of you who have called, it is now ready to greet you again! Welcome!
- Let’s discuss County business for just a minute: I’d like to talk about the possibility of Foam Recycling. Many of us have had concerns about all those foam products going into the landfill because they take many, many years to disintegrate, but there is no place to recycle them. The County has been searching for just the right avenue to recycle this product, according to Kari Ann Hodgson, Division Director of Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Division, and the department has applied for a grant to buy the machinery. If they win the grant, this is what it will look like and what it will do. The most important thing is, it will rid us of the Styrofoam that now is “stuck” in our landfill for decades until it disintegrates. It will even accept those huge pieces of Styrofoam that come with televisions and large appliances, etc. We already have such an efficient recycling program, but this machine, if we receive the grant, will certainly augment it! If we win that grant from the Food Service Packing Institute, it will serve as their 12th grant awarded across North America. Styrofoam is a common source of unsightly litter and creates environmental concern. This will also preserve space in our landfill for things that cannot be recycled or deteriorate. The machine will process raw foam into a marketable commodity. The Solid and Hazardous Waste Department is excited to conduct a pilot program, allowing commercial and residential customers to bring specific packaging and food container Styrofoam to our four major Recycling Drop-off Centers for collection. The collected foam will be condensed and sold to a third-party company for marketing and use. The foam pilot program will increase the level of service to our residential product and maintain our pristine County aesthetics while protecting our environment.