Flamingo Visitor Center

Flamingo Visitor Center. Photo by Alyssa Mendez Batista from Everglades National Park

Within the crevice of the Everglades there resides Flamingo, where fishermen and campers hearts are content. Nature with its own presence affects mankind to blush with their ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ that speaks the astonishing enchantment that the ecosystem has accumulated through natural disasters and nature’s role-playing inhabitants.

On June 18, 2016, a bus tour took place from Ernest Coe Visitor Center out to Flamingo district for tourists to see Flamingo’s historic visitor center. Park rangers guided tourists around the visitor center with intriguing history facts about Flamingo and they also elaborated the future plans that are on their prospectus.

Partners in Preservation is holding an online campaign for national parks, the winners will be awarded with grants for their respective projects. Everglades National Park is competing against 20 national parks for a $2 million grant that will help to preserve and rejuvenate the park back to its summit form; $250,000 grant would be suffice to repair the exterior of Flamingo’s visitor center and also to improve the accommodations to richen tourist’s experiences at their stay in Flamingo.

Justin Unger, Deputy Superintendent, states “I think we found the secret sauce… the recipe that’s going to make this work” alluding to the concession contract of the visitor center. Under the new prospectus, concession owners don’t want to occupy the former restaurant in the visitor center because it is too big “for a modern function concession/restaurant” Unger mentions, instead concession owners want to build a new building in a different location. With that being said, the new cottages for Flamingo would be adjacent to the location of the new-built restaurant. If the national park is able to seal a contract for that project, Flamingo will have an empty available facility within the former restaurant. However, in the prospectus they will be required to build 24 elevated cottages, to protect the building from hurricanes and other natural disasters. Tourists will have the options from a studio up to two bedrooms; also, within the contract they will be required to build 20 eco-tents.

“We and the Trust reached out to University of Miami… one of the architecture professors assigned this as a design project” Don Finerfrock, Executive Director of the South Florida National Parks Trust was referring to the prototypes of the eco-tents. The architecture students came out with the tent’s design that is displayed on the prospectus. Everglades National Park funded the eco-tent prototype, as they displayed it two years ago. “We made it available on a reservation only basis, and it was full” asserted Finerfock. The concept was to attract safari camping to bring out the tradition theme of a vacation in Flamingo.

Is there a special place in the Everglades National Park, perhaps Flamingo? Wouldn’t you want to be a part of the movement to restore your park? Become part of Everglades National Park preservation campaign, by voting for your beloved park at VoteYourPark.org; it will truly be a genuine gesture for your local park that you admire.

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