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Manatees need our continued help, protection

Editor: While in Crystal River to snorkel with the manatees recently, I saw a Citrus Times article about the local Chamber of Commerce criticizing the wildlife refuge manager for ticketing tourists who harassed the manatees or violated their posted sanctuary.

I hope he will keep up the good work.

As we arrived at the area where the manatees are, our guide pointed out someone swimming into the manatee sanctuary past the very obvious markers. After we were in the water he sought her out and told her she had violated the rules. She said it was the second time she had done it, and she repeated it a third time while we were there.

If some tourists are so angry about being ticketed for such violations that they never come back, then I say, "Good riddance!"

The first priority should be to protect the manatees. The Chamber of Commerce does not seem to grasp this concept, or realize they will be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs if the manatees become extinct. It seems to be typical of chambers everywhere to put the short-term gain of the few ahead of the long-term good of the many.

Thomas P. McKenna

Fort Collins, Colo.

Golf courses would aid residents, environment

Editor: Staff writer Barbara Behrendt's Feb. 28 article was interesting and points out the need and desirability of the state buying and preserving land for the public.

The advantages of preserving undeveloped areas as a habitat for endangered animals and plants are noteworthy.

Another worthwhile project could be added to these problems: golf courses.

Not only would a public golf course serve the local population, but it would add significantly to our tourism attraction. As far as I know, there is no public golf course in Citrus County.

A golf course constructed through the type of land available _ hammock areas, parcels of low-lying swamp land and forests _ could be designed into a golf course that would be a tremendous asset to Citrus County. Properly done, it could rival any of the world-famous golf courses and serve as a landmark for this area.

The privately owned Black Diamond Course is known throughout the golfing world because of its innovative architecture encompassing old quarries and mines. Think of the possibilities available in the natural environment of some of the properties available to the state.

Not to downgrade Black Diamond, but this county does offer areas that will give a golf course architect much more to work with.

I can envision something so outstanding that golfers would come from all over the world to see it.

And this is a project that, once in place, will maintain itself through fees so there is no drain on our tax money.

John W. Glass


Thanks to supporters of manatee festival

Editor: The Crystal River Chamber of Commerce is extremely grateful to all the companies and individuals who played a role in the huge success of the 1994 Florida Manatee Festival.

About 30,000 people attended at either the main event site or the craft show site during the weekend.

The Florida Manatee Festival Committee meets all year to plan the event. The major sponsors underwrite many expenses necessary to conduct an event of this magnitude.

Thanks to all the volunteers and businesses and other sponsors who also participated in the support.

Sheree Monroe, executive director

Crystal River Chamber of Commerce

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