In December 2015, my mom, dad, and I attended an information meeting at Big Cypress about the proposed seismic testing. I wanted to go and hear the information even though I thought that there was NO WAY this would ever be allowed! It was sickening to see pictures and videos of the gigantic vibroseis trucks that would be used- in groups of 3! I had complete faith that the National Park Service would make the obvious decision to deny the proposal, or at least do an in depth Environmental Impact Statement. There were so many distressing ideas involved in this proposal that I thought it was an absolute no-brainer that the NPS would protect the sensitive, diverse, and vital habitat of Big Cypress from the extreme intrusion of humans, huge trucks, and helicopters. The scars that these vehicles will leave on what should be protected land and animals is sickening to me.
The land in Big Cypress is amazing land. It is part of the greater Everglades system. The beauty that exists there is stunning and brings me unspeakable joy. I am so beyond thankful that it has been conserved before I was born by many dedicated people who knew its true value, or else it would have long been paved over and developed. It is home to multiple endangered and threatened species like the gopher tortoise, indigo snake, wood stork, Everglades snail kite, Florida panther, and more. These animals have little place else in the state to find their home in.
On my 10th birthday after paddling and biking in Big Cypress, my mom, dad, and I went on a 2 hour aerial tour of part of the Everglades region. This is a picture of what would have been a major airport for the Miami area (that would have come with extensive development) right in the heart of Big Cypress. It was with disgust that I saw from the air the surrounding land that would have been destroyed, and with a sense of satisfaction and gratitude for heroes like Marjory Stoneman Douglas that we have to thank for the vast areas that are protected.
Last night I read the first announcement that the NPS has made its decision and ruled that there will be no environmental impact from seismic testing on over 70,000 acres of Big Cypress Preserve. My first thought was that it was a belated April fool’s joke. I was truly stunned. I am so unbelievably disappointed in the National Park Service.
This is a news article about this devastating decision:
Big Cypress oil exploration
I am only 10 years old and I feel pretty powerless, but I am more determined than ever to continue trying to defend this absolute treasure trove that we are so fortunate to have in our state.