During the January 2019 government shutdown, vandals defaced one of the Lower Suwannee Refuge's main directional signs. Friends members made temporary repairs.
Finally, the permanent repair is in place. Thanks to the Friends members who kept all of us from having to live with the vandalism from January until July!
Thanks to Friends former president Maria Sgambati for forwarding this YouTube of swallow-tailed kites. And thanks to Raymond Powers for taking and posting the video!
The birds were gathering on a farm near the Refuge in Gilchrist County in preparation for their migration. Friends is supporting the tracking of one swallow-tailed kite on its migration this year. Maybe ours is in this group! See the video here.
For Release on Monday, 15 July 2019
Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge in Chiefland, Florida is Accepting Comments on Hunting Permit Fees ….
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) is accepting public comments on increasing the yearly hunter access fee for hunting on the Refuge. The current fee is $15.00 and we are proposing a $10.00 increase to $25.00 for the 2020-2021 season. The recreational fees will be retained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a part of the Recreational Fee Program and used for road maintenance as part of the administration of the hunting program. The Refuge maintains 194 miles of public driving and secondary grass road/trails accessible by walking or biking, providing public access to some of the most remote parts of the Refuge.
Since 1981, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had authority to collect recreation fees. Since 1997, the Service has been able to retain fees collected at the station, first under the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program and then, in 2004, under the authority of Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA). The FLREA was established to provide funding for recreation program improvements. Typical projects paid for by recreation fee funds include road and parking lot maintenance, brochures, envelopes, handling and mailings of hunt information, trail improvements, and salaries for law enforcement.
A fee analysis has been done by Refuge staff and these fees are proposed based on what nearby entities and National Wildlife Refuges are requesting. The refuge is proposing to make these fee changes effective next year’s hunt season.
We are interested in hearing from you regarding the proposed new fee requirement and are requesting public comments beginning 15 July through 15 August 2019. Please submit any comments by email (firstname.lastname@example.org; Subject Line: “Hunt Fee Comment”), phone (352.492.0238 x224), or mail (Hunt Fee Comments c/o Andrew Gude, 16450 NW 31st Place, Chiefland, FL 32626) on the proposed fee changes.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with us on the web at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/lower_suwannee/, our Friends of the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge website http://www.friendsofrefuges.org/, our Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.
Andrew G. Gude
Office 352.493.0238 x224 | Cell 703.622.3896
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System
Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys NWR: 16450 NW 31st. Place, Chiefland, Florida 32626
Seahorse Key Events
The Re-lighting Ceremony was a centerpiece in three days of Fourth of July Celebrations in Cedar Key. Despite a misty rain, music, residents, and visitors filled Second Street starting at 7 on Friday evening July 5th. The local merchants created a festive, convivial atmosphere for the red-white-and-blue wearing crowds.
As dark was arriving, everyone gathered at G and First Street. Mayor Heather Davis harkened to the days when his grandfather used the Cedar Key Light Station to get home from sea. County Commissioner John Meeks pointed out that no one alive today has seen the light turned on, until those of us gathered do on this night. Refuge Manager Andrew Gude told us that our Nature Coast is the longest, darkest, most undeveloped coastline in the contiguous US. NCBS Director told us how we managed to get the funding to relight the Cedar Key Light Station on Seahorse Key National Wildlife Refuge. With the help of the Historical Society's Carol McQueen, the last woman to live at the Light Station, Catherine Hobday came to life and told her story. Anna Hodges executive director of the Cedar Key Historical Society led the "flash mob" in singing the Star Spangled Banner.
At 9:30, Captain Kenny McCain and Refuge Deputy Manager Larry Woodward, out on Seahorse Key, flipped the switch and all of us on shore celebrated the lighting with sparklers and fireworks launched from boats in the channel. Read more in Cedar Key News.