by Tom Maish, Chair of the Vision Committee
The Friends of Fakahatchee are proud to announce that we are now offering familiarization tours for local and state decision makers. The goal is to invite these community leaders to the park where they will be given a personalized tour of the Fakahatchee Strand. Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala became our first public official to experience a Ghost Rider Tram Tour into the Fakahatchee. Glen Stacell lead the trip and it was very well received. Mrs Fiala next traveled to old US41, site of our Boardwalk Vision, to see the “picture window” into the Fakahatchee Strand. Commissioner Fiala was so taken that she wrote a glowing article about the beauty of the Fakahatchee which appeared in the Marco and Naples newspapers after her visit in mid- April. What a great first step!
On April 23rd the Boardwalk Vision committee listened to a presentation on the benefits of hiring an Interpretative Master Planner to complete planning of graphics and displays for the Boardwalk Vision site. Board member Patrick Higgins had been a student of Kris Whipple, National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Certified Interpretative Trainer, and asked Kris to explain the reasons, benefits, and process of using Interpretative Master Planners. A Master Interpretative Plan will tie together all the individual pieces of our vision that the Friends have been formulating. Kris gave such a compelling presentation on what the Friends could expect from proper planning that committee members Jimene Rinehart and John Kaiser offered to fund the consulting fee to prepare a scope of work and pursue Requests For Proposals (RFP) for our project. This request to send out RFPs will now be presented to the FOF Board for approval. Sending out RFPs, reviewing the responses, and selecting a planning firm will take several months. Then the actual planning process may take an additional 6 to 12 months. With this completed plan, our Boardwalk Vision will be ready to reveal to the public.