Fishbone Creek, a popular fishing and viewing platform on the Dixie County side of the Lower Suwannee NWR, It has been closed for three weeks due to vandalism; the railings were torn off. While inspecting it, Refuge staff noted that one of the upright posts was clearly rotted to the point of being unsafe.
While it was closed many dedicated users called Refuge Manager Andrew Gude and other Refuge staff to express concern. Some offered their contracting, fabricating, and construction services to speed along the re-opening of the popular site. Andrew kept these contacts on a "friends of Fishbone" list.
When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Gulf Restoration Office, which manages and coordinates RESTORE Act monies, had an opportunity to extend additional grants to refuges, Andrew applied. Lower Suwannee NWR was selected and after negotiation to allow its use for Fishbone Creek restoration, the money will be allowed to be used to explore a potential Fishbone Fishing and Viewing Platform rebuild. The new construction would use materials that don't rot and that resist arson. The possible reconstruction would have an ADA accessible platform at ground level, a parking pad, a graveled parking lot, and permeable geo-matting to prevent erosion from boat launching off the bank.
"What was so heartening about this whole situation were the responses from the dedicated, loyal, and responsible users when we had to close Fishbone", said Andrew. "Because of the extent and frequency of previous vandalism, and after hearing from so many fans of this site, we will consider providing access in the future through Special Use Permits to allow the site to achieve its maximum potential as a safe and lasting recreational favorite."