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Dedication Ceremony for the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge Interpretive Trail

 

MEDIA ADVISORY:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 31, 2005

Contacts:
Larry Richardson
, 239-353-8442 x 224

 

Who:

U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Ballart

Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Marge Duncan, mother of Leslie M. Duncan

Ann-Marie Miles , President, Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge

Layne Hamilton, Refuge Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

What:

Media availability at the dedication ceremony for the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge Interpretive Trail. Public also invited.

Photo Ops:

VIPs at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge trail dedication ceremony.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Leslie M. Duncan Memorial Trail.

Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge via swamp buggy.

When:

Monday, June 6, 2005 at 1:00 p.m.

Where:

Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

Interpretive Trailhead

State Road 29, one-quarter mile north of Interstate 75.

Directions:

From Naples and Ft. Myers , take I-75 (Alligator Alley) eastbound to Exit 80 (approximately 20 miles east of Naples), which is the exit to State Road 29. Proceed north on State Road 29 one-quarter mile, then turn left at the entrance to the trailhead parking lot.

From Immokalee , take State Road 29 southbound approximately 21 miles. Turn right at the entrance to the trailhead parking lot.

From Ft. Lauderdale , take I-75 (Alligator Alley) westbound to Exit 80, which is the exit to State Road 29. Proceed north on State Road 29 one-quarter mile, then turn left at the entrance to the trailhead parking lot.

Why:  

  • To dedicate the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge Trail.
  • To dedicate the trail as part of the Everglades Trail system.
  • To dedicate the wheelchair accessible trail to Leslie Duncan and unveil the memorial plaque.
  • To open the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge to the public.

Background:

Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge was established in June 1989 under the authority of the Endangered Species Act to protect the Florida panther and its habitat. The refuge consists of 26,400 acres and is located within the heart of the Big Cypress Basin in southwest Florida . The refuge encompasses the northern origin of the Fakahatchee Strand, the largest cypress strand in the Big Cypress swamp.

The completion of the interpretive trail and opening the Refuge to the public has been the result of partnerships involving concerned citizens, volunteers, the Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge, the Federal Highways Administration, and the Florida Gulf Coast University Wings of Hope Program.

The trail system will provide access to the southeast corner of the Refuge, introducing hikers to the major habitat types such as pine flatwoods, prairies, hardwood hammocks and cypress swamps. Among these typical south Florida habitats many species of birds and mammals may be seen. Bear, deer and turkey have already left tracks on the new trail.The Panther Refuge trail is part of the newly established Everglades Trail System, a project sponsored by former Senator Bob Graham, to highlight the beauty and diversity of the Florida Everglades. Educational kiosks will display aspects of the Florida Everglades, highlight the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and its namesake endangered cat.


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://southeast.fws.gov/ or http://www.fws.gov/.



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