The Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which approves all management plans and amendments to these plans for state lands entrusted to the Division of Public Lands, on December 13, 2013, approved the Blackwater River State Forest (BRSF) 10 year management plan with one proviso. They qualified the paragraph which had to do with military expansion in that forest to require any military exercises, such as that mentioned in the GRASI proposal, would require an amendment to the plan and require ARC approval before the exercises can commence. I will get the exact wording next week.
There was a very good show of people representing 1) North Florida paddlers (about 14 people with 4 who testified) and a legislative staff aide, 2) The Native Plant Society, 3) Frances Weston Audubon Society (8 with 3 who testified) and State Audubon Conservation Direction Julie Wraithmell, 4) Several other speakers opposed or questioning the military exercises. The council delayed hearing the BRSF plan till 11 am to enable people from Pensacola to leave for Tallahassee at a reasonable time, particularly since many also attended the “town meeting” the night before in Milton, jointly sponsored by Eglin AFB and Florida Forestry.
The testimony of John Veasey, an Air Force veteran of 24 years and a frequent user of BWSF resulted in a question to the Director of State Forests the next day by Peter Frederick, council member and U of Florida Professor, asking why there were military in the state forest when he was under the impression that this had not been authorized. Jim Karels, Director of State Forests, replied that under a forestry use permit when Eglin AFB request use for several days, they were usually issued a permit.
At the Apalachicola “town hall” meeting that night John Brown, who has been the main point man for forestry, was asked whether the Tate’s Hell Forestry Plan which does not currently have the military inclusion clause in it would have to be amended before military training is allowed. He answered in the affirmative. When asked whether there would be adequate notification of a hearing and adequate time for people to read the amendment, he equivocated.
Forestry claims that the military are users, too, and is issuing permits under an ordinary user request. Most of the people at both the Milton and the Apalachicola town meetings held on December 11 and 12, 2013, would question that interpretation of “resource-based recreation” user.
Panel 4, when clicked, will give you the operational plan.
The Acquisitions and Restoration Council (ARC), Division of Public Lands, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), is tasked with approving all management plans on lands acquired under various restoration and conservation purchases. They will be meeting to consider the Blackwater River State Forest 10 Year Resource Management Plan on December 12-13, 2013. On December 12, the public will be allowed to speak on the sections of the 10 year management plan which concerns them. The management plan can be viewed at:
When: December 12, 2013 9:00AM-
Where: Marjory Stoneman Douglas Bldg, (DEP), 3900 Commonwealth Blvd., Conf Rm A, (I-10 and Capital Circle NW).
Concerned citizens are urged to attend, not only to speak, but, if not, to support the speakers.
The following are instructions printed by ARC for presentations:
“MSD [Marjory Stoneman Douglas building] is equipped with computer electronia that accommodate Power Point presentations, carousel slide projection, VCR and DVD projection, and a document reader (similar to an overhead projector) able to project photographs, maps, transparencies and other documents up to 14 x 17 inches. Smaller maps and documents that fit on the document reader are preferred over poster-size maps and documents.
“Power Point presentations should be on CD or a USB drive in a ‘pps’ Power Poit Show format.
“Room lighting (darkening) is fair — low contrast photographs, maps and documents may not show as well, so you may need to supplement your presentation with paper handouts.
“The room is equipped with microphones, and all meetings/hearings are recorded. Please speak into the microphones for proper recording of your testimony and so the Council members and audience can hear.
“Speakers are generally limited to 5-10 minutes each and may be questioned by the Council. For large groups, please coordinate speakers and avoid duplicating information presented. Depending on the number of speakers and available time, speakers may be asked to shorten presentations to 3 minutes or less — be prepared.”