At last, the National Park Service has a plan for Flamingo, the last stop in Everglades National Park on the road from Homestead to Florida Bay.
After its 1960s-era lodge and restaurant were destroyed in 1995’s Hurricane Katrina and Wilma, the area has offered only marina services.
The new master plan calls for an environmentally friendly development with more lodging alternatives and more biking and hiking trails. It is designed to be hurricane, flood and climate-change resistant and would require $78 million to be invested in six phases.
- 40 eco-tents, which allow visitors to have a camping experience without bringing much gear.
- 60 walk-in tent sites near Florida Bay.
- Walking/bicycling pathways with shuttles that would encourage folks to get around without their cars.
- 24 elevated cottages, some with views of Florida Bay, would have earth-friendly technology, such as solar hot water and water-harvesting systems.
- A new lodge with 30 guestrooms with balconies and bayviews.
- A new visitor center and marina.
Don’t start planning your vacation yet. The timetable for the phases has not been released beyond “public comment” in 2011.