Residents not impetus for Nature Center
Has there been a loud cry from citizens for a nature center? Are people calling the county up and saying "I could really enjoy hiking, biking and swimming so much more with an interactive nature center to tell me all about it and please make sure it has a snack stand full of yummy junk foods?''
Birders, hikers, bikers and general nature lovers are not coming here for the development.
Just getting matching funding for a project like this may feel like a great opportunity, but when it's $3 million of our tax dollars being matched by the state one must ask: who is really getting the big pay off in the end? I'll bet the real clamoring for this great idea has come, not from citizens, but from builders and developers salivating for their piece of the pie.
Then when done we, citizens, get all of the maintenance fees. We'll cover the air conditioning, mowing and paying employees. It'd be smarter to improve the condition of existing recreation spots and just put the information about our area at those locations. Or just save the $3 million.
Jennifer Sullivan, Spring Hill
Don't spoil real Nature Coast feel
I am one of the many people who encouraged Hernando County to move the Nature Coast Education Plaza to a more accessible area like the edge of the Weekiwachee Preserve.
Let's stop calling it eco-tourism. "The Nature Coast Experience" is about making money. It's about parking lots and kayak rentals, hotdog stands and event space in the middle of the nature preserve. Nesting birds will be disturbed; turtles will get run over; bears will find the garbage cans and eventually be interacting with humans, in the middle of the nature preserve. You could put your swimming park anywhere and people will come.
The true eco-tourist, who comes from Tampa for a day in the wilderness, or the birdwatcher, who travels a great distance to see a unique species, won't be spending money in Hernando County anymore. We already have the Nature Coast Experience, open and free to everyone, on a schedule designed to limit impact on this asset. Why don't you put a kiosk at the gate with educational information for the novice to provide a tour that also teaches respect for nature. I'm sure that a collaboration of the many well-spoken naturalists, who commented at the public meetings, could help write it.
Patricia Simons, Hernando Beach