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Two more Alternative Transportation Study public workshops planned

By Staff | Mar 24, 2009

Workshops #2 and #3, two unique interactive public workshops, are scheduled for the ongoing Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands (ATPPL) study for J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Both workshops will begin with a formal presentation at 4:30 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House, located at 2173 Periwinkle Way.

The first of these will be held on Thursday, April 2 and the next will be held on Thursday, April 16.

These workshops will present different information and have different purposes. We encourage the public to attend both dates. Each workshop will begin with a formal presentation. The first workshop for this study was held on Jan. 29, 2009.

As one of the most visited refuges in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service network, the “Ding” Darling NWR strives to meet its goal of ecological conservation and wildlife habitat protection while attempting to accommodate increased vehicular and foot traffic generated by visitors to the Refuge and Sanibel Island. This concern is also felt by the City of Sanibel, which is committed to remaining a sanctuary barrier island community.

In response to this concern, the Refuge, in partnership with the City of Sanibel and Lee County applied for a grant from the Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands (ATPPL) Program in 2006. This program, sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is designed to assist national parks and public lands (including wildlife refuges) in managing their visitation, while meeting the primary goal of providing sanctuary habitats for various wildlife.

This project evaluates alternative transportation techniques and scenarios for the Refuge and Sanibel/Captiva Islands while continuing to balance human activities with the commitment to preserve and protect natural areas.

The April 2 workshop will build upon the public opinions expressed and comments collected at the first public workshop as well as comments collected from recent surveys and stakeholder interviews. The workshop is the start of the alternative building process and will begin at 4:30 p.m. with a formal presentation describing the project efforts to date, followed by a break-out session that asks participants to help identify and develop preliminary alternative transportation scenarios. At the conclusion of the workshop, another presentation will summarize the comments heard during the break-out session and describe the next steps in the study.

A refined alternatives public workshop (workshop #3) on April 16 will build upon the public opinions expressed and comments collected at the previous two public workshops. The workshop will begin at 4:30 p.m. with a formal presentation describing the project efforts to date, followed by a break-out session that asks participants to rank preliminary alternative transportation scenarios, identifying the scenario(s) that they believe should be refined and studied in detail, so that implementation recommendations can be developed. At the conclusion of the workshop, another presentation will summarize the comments heard during the break-out session and describe the next steps in the study.

For more information, contact Kris Cella of Cella Molnar & Associates by calling 239-337-1071, 1-877-496-1076 (toll-free) or send an e-mail to kcella@cella.cc.