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Deputy Superintendent of Everglades National Park, Justin Unger and Biscayne National Park Superintendant Brian Carlstrom stood before Council during the June City Council meeting to commend and recognize the leadership of Vice Mayor Stephen Shelley, the City of Homestead staff and the National Parks Conservation Association for helping make the Homestead National Parks Trolley project a success.
“We would like to thank the gateway community of Homestead as well as the NPCA,” began Deputy Superintendant Unger. “As many of you know, we experienced the results of a very successful first year run of the National Parks Trolley that brought our parks many visitors that might not have otherwise made the trip. Also noteworthy was the fully realized and impressive marketing campaign undertaken by the City of Homestead that succeeded in connecting both national parks to its people.”
The Homestead National Parks Trolley takes visitors free of charge to Everglades National Park’s Ernest Coe Visitor Center and the Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm during the winter months. It also travels to Biscayne National Park’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center and boardwalk as well as Miami-Dade County’s Homestead Bayfront Park, where visitors can swim at the atoll beach.“The trolley has been a great success and has been a win-win for both county and national parks,” added Superintendant Carlstrom. “During the initial four month stretch, my fellow rangers and I came into contact with thousands of visitors who felt lucky to have had the opportunity to take free, public transportation to explore a part of their community they had never seen. It is our honor to present the first of three plaques in commemoration of the National Parks Trolley’s success to Vice Mayor Shelley. We would like to recognize you for all the work you did and for having the vision along with the know-how to see it through.”
This program is the result of efforts of National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) in collaboration with the National Park Service and the City of Homestead, Gateway to Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. NPCA is America’s voice for national parks and works to protect and enhance America’s National Park System for current and future generation.
“I am honored to receive this award this evening,” said Vice Mayor Shelley. “I am greatly encouraged with the evolution of this project and hopefully it will become an institution down here in the very near future. I look forward to continue the hard work alongside a marvelous staff and to forge the relationship between the City of Homestead and its neighboring national parks for years to come. ”
Plaques were then awarded to the City of Homestead, Ms. Denise Ratajczak (a Volunteer at Biscayne National Park and Interpretive Guide on the majority of the trolley runs), and the NPCA (Ms. Jacqueline Crucet) respectively.
The Homestead National Parks Trolley will kick off again this November 2014.