View Full Version : To all who visit Merritt Island, Florida

Jane Anderson
02-26-2008, 05:25 PM
To all who have visited Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge or plan to visit in the future (This includes Blackpoint Wildlife Drive), I encourage to read the land use proposal published by Kennedy Space Center.


NASA is planning to build an additional launch site. They are meeting in New Smyrna with local today to get our feedback on the proposal. They have narrowed their search down to 2 sites. Site 1 (aka Site A) is within the KSC secured area and will not have an impact on the public. Site 2 (aka Site E) runs along CR3 and will make Blackpoint, Bio Lab Road, the Hammock Trail, Mosquito Lagoon and The Scrub Ridge Trail off limits to the public.

The Merritt Island area is a very ecologically sensitive area and is home to several endangered and threatened species of plants and animals. I am glad to see them take this into their site selection process. The area is also one of the best birding areas I have ever visited. People come from around the globe to go birding in Merritt Island. I feel privileged to have it in my "back yard".

If you would not like to see Site 2 used, please send an email to ksc-cvlc@nasa.gov and voice your opinion.

NASA had a meeting in Titusville last night and more than 300 people showed up.

NASA is viewing this as a local issue. I'd like them to hear from all birders affected so they see the global impact this will have.

Thank you for your time and please feel free to share your feelings on this thread.

Maxis Gamez
02-26-2008, 07:27 PM
I'm aware of that. Incredible. :(

Blake Shadle
02-26-2008, 08:35 PM
Oh, wow... that's not good at all. I hadn't heard of this before today. Thanks for posting this information.

Alfred Forns
02-26-2008, 10:02 PM
Thanks for the info This might be a tough on to tackle !!!

Judd Patterson
02-26-2008, 10:14 PM
This is a major issue. I found out about it earlier this week and should have posted...thanks Jane! Harry Behret posted over at NSN that he attended the public meeting in Titusville and got the feeling that NASA was putting out Site 2 so that we'd all feel better when Site 1 is selected. The only problem is that launches at Site 1 may still require closures to MINWR as we currently see with Shuttle launches. Since this will be a commercial facility, how often will it be used? No one seems to know...

I read an article where some people were recommended a Site 3 to be on abandoned portions of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The major hurdle here is that it is Air Force property and not specifically NASA. I think it makes much more sense to retrofit abandoned Air Force facilities that are farther to the south of MINWR than to destroy new habitat and visitor access...but NASA might take some convincing.

Harry Behret
02-27-2008, 05:27 PM
I can't see much sense in the NASA proposal to build a commercial launch facility. The cost will be $500,000,000 to be paid for by the state of Florida or the commercial company that takes over the site. Usually the state pays and justifies it by saying its good for the economy. The "economy" is usually a politically connected company that has made large donations to one if not bothy of the two political parties.

The reps at the meeting said that it would create 400 temporary construction jobs and 200 jobs with the new launch facility. No one knew if such a commercial launch site would be profitable or how many launches the new site would undertake.

Site 2 would definitely close MINWR and surrounding areas that are used for recreation, hunting, boating, fishing, and birding. Site 1 could (the reps did not know) close MINWR on the days preceding a launch. The reps did not know how many launches a year would be done. Both sites require the destruction of wetlands and wildlife habitats.

Around 1,000,000 visitors a year come to the Space Coast to visit MINWR and its surrounding areas. Tourism is the one sector of Florida's economy that is doing well and creating jobs. There are numerous small businesses in the Space Coast which depend on the money from tourists to remain profitable. When I asked the reps at the meeting how many jobs would be lost if MINWR was closed they said they hadn't considered that in their study.

Then to top it all off they never looked at using unused areas of KSC or the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for the proposed facility.

I may be senile but it just doesn't make any sense to me.