Everglades Exploration Network

I would like to introduce myself to the discussion group. My name is Mike Jester and I am the facility manager at Everglades National Park. It appears there is much misinformation about the camping structures and yes, I agree they are not as user friendly as those found in other areas of the park. What you may not know is the design of the structures was the result of having to obtain environmental permits/permission from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Coast Guard and the National Marine Fisheries. Bottom line, we were required to raise the structures to a minimum of five feet about mean high water, provide one inch spacing between deck boards, orient the structure east to west and relocate the proposed Umbrella Key chickee futher away from the Tin Can Channel to Shark Point (much shallower water). Unfortunately, the park was unaware of these requirements when we were conducting public meetings to get input for future uses in the park. The agencies which oversee these activities have responsibility for the protection of critical habitats associated with threatened and endangered species and safe navigation for the boating public. In order obtain the permits to construct the campsites, the park had the choice of making the required changes or not constructing the camp sites, which I must assume would have fructrated our visitors more than having the existing facilities. So, where do we go from here?

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Canned seafood! One of my favorite meals is the dried ricotta and spinach tortellini.  Cook it up and toss with olive oil, minced garlic and  a tin of smoked clams.  Yum. Dinner in less than ten.

That does sound pretty tasty too, Kim !   :)

I've not been buying smoked oysters b/c all the ones I've seen are from China & I'm not confident in their water purity. Oysters are filter feeders after all~  (I won't eat gulf oysters either)

Vivian, I usually rinse the cast skillet in plenty of sea water using sand/shells to clean off the food bits and grease with a stick. Then a quick tiny freshwater rinse & dry. I've found that leaves just enough sheen of grease to keep rust to a minimum. I store in it's own plastic bag so it doesn't funk up the dry bag cook kit. At season's end (like now) I clean with detergent and lightly oil it for storage.

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