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Phase II of Alternative Transportation Study for ‘Ding’ Darling NWR seeking public input

By Staff | Nov 22, 2010

In 2008 Lee County Transit (LeeTran) in cooperation with its partners, the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and the City of Sanibel, was awarded a grant through the Federal Transit Administration under the Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands Program (ATPPL, now funded by the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Public Parks Program).

The program 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.

As one of the most visited refuges in the country, the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge experiences high traffic volumes. This study is designed to explore appropriate and environmentally sensitive solutions for managing the volume of visitors and their transportation needs.

This fall, we continue efforts to provide an enjoyable visitor experience while ensuring sanctuary habitats for various wildlife in the Refuge.

Using support provided by the Program, the project evaluates alternative transportation techniques and scenarios for the Refuge and the City of Sanibel that strive to balance human activities while maintaining the commitment to preserve and protect natural areas.

Phase I of the project identified a broad range of alternative transportation scenarios with the purpose of reducing congestion and pollution by reducing automobile dependency, while not harming environmental resources.

Driven by public comment, the Refuge, LeeTran and the City of Sanibel developed these transportation options to complement the mission, goals and objectives of each partner agency and improve transportation conditions and resident/visitor experiences on Sanibel.

This second phase consists of a detailed analysis of the alternatives that the public helped generate in Phase I. A locally preferred alternative — including the transportation type(s), the area to be served and the season/days/hours of operation — will be presented to the public early next year.

An implementation plan for this alternative will be created for recommendation to the project partner agencies and the Federal Transit Administration. These steps are part of the formal documentation process required for a Federal Environmental Assessment. Public input is an important part of the process and we encourage you to get involved.

Continue to check the project website at www.dingdarlingtransportation.com for upcoming public involvement opportunities.