3 State Parks to Host Public Meeting in Manatee County

November 13, 2014

~The public is invited to share input on the land management plans~

Join the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service for a public workshop and presentation of the updates to the management plans for Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site, Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park and Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park. The meeting will be held Wednesday, Nov. 19 in Palmetto, Florida.

Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site is just under 10 acres and protects the National Register-listed Madira Bickel Mound, Florida’s first designated state archaeological site.

Proposed updates for this park include the addition of a small picnic pavilion in the park for visitor use and the addition of two new interpretive kiosks. One kiosk is for the Prine Mound and the other is for the Madira Bickel Ceremonial Mound. These kiosks will enhance visitor understanding and appreciation for these archaeological sites in the park.

Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park is a 615-acre park only accessible by boat within the Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserve. The park provides habitat for two endangered plant species, seven shorebird species and the Florida manatee. It also provides protection for Little Cockroach Key archaeological site, which is considered eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Proposed updates for this park include the placement of interpretive information at county boat ramps located at the end of Cockroach Bay Road and in Domino Park to inform visitors about the history and sensitivity of the park and how to protect the park while enjoying the peace and solitude it offers.

Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park is a 32-acre park that protects the remaining portion of the original 3,500-acre pre-Civil War plantation and the mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Proposed updates for this park include the addition of a kitchen facility at the current large picnic area, the repurposing of space in the visitor center for a bridal changing room and the addition of two small covered picnic pavilions in the mansion portion of the park. In addition, proposed changes include the construction of a small restroom, small picnic pavilion, a parking area and improvements to a hiking trail found at the northern part of the park that contains the sugar mill ruins.

There will also be an advisory group meeting held on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 9 a.m. at the visitors center at the Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park.

The public notice, agenda and draft plan are available online. Copies may also be obtained by contacting Kevin Kiser, park manager, at 941-721-6747,Kevin.Kiser@dep.state.fl.us.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this workshop/meeting is asked to advise the agency at least 48 hours before the workshop/meeting by contacting the park manager.

If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service, 1-800-955-8771 (TDD) or 1-800-955-8770 (Voice).

WHAT:   Public Workshop

WHEN:   Nov. 19, 2014

               7 p.m.

WHERE: Palmetto City Hall
               516 8th Ave. West
               Palmetto, FL 43221

WHAT:    Advisory Group Meeting

WHEN:    Nov. 20, 2014

               9 a.m.

WHERE: Visitors Center at Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial 
               Gamble Plantation Historic State Park
               3708 Patten Ave.
               Ellenton, FL 34222

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