Audubon Florida News

Orlando Sentinel: The Great Florida Public Land Giveaway

posted on January 31, 2012 in Media,State Government

St. Johns River by Ed JurgensenTwo of Audubon’s most closely monitored bills of 2012 – HB 1103 and SB 1362 – have drawn interest in the form of an opinion editorial from one of Florida’s most widely circulated newspapers. What do you think?

From the Orlando Sentinel:

In essence, these bills would change that high-water mark from the waterway’s reach during an ordinary wet season to a drier time of the year…

Under these bills, that shore would effectively revert from public ownership to private ownership, without compensating the public. Estimates of the loss of public land range from 100,000 acres to 500,000 acres, an area about the size of the Smoky Mountains National Park. (The issue doesn’t apply to beaches and waterways whose levels are influenced by tides.)

It’s a windfall for property owners, but a rotten deal for hunters, kayakers and fishermen who lose access to public recreation areas. A kayaker who pulls her boat onto a riverbank during the dry season might face an angry property owner accusing her of trespassing. And woe to the hunter who gets caught with a firearm on public-turned-private property — he might get charged with a felony.

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