News Cast 3/2

News Cast for March 2nd:

Bass Debate over closing Scott Driver for Bass Pro

Pro intends to use the Scott Driver Boat Ramp for the Johnny Morris U.S. Open on Saturday, March 13.

They also want the park closed to the public as they launch 250 boats and host 500 anglers and a variety of other events.

The public would be allowed in for the weigh-in and concert that is planned.

The Tourist Development Council has embraced the event and recently approved $5,000 to help promote this event to the area.

Commissioner Kelly Owens raised concerns about inconveniencing our local anglers.

“It will only leave Okee-Tantie for people wanting to go fishing.  I don’t agree with this at all.  It’s a public park.  They will be tying up two public facilities and I don’t agree with it.”

Bass Pro is considering whether to develop a first class resort at Okee Tantie .

The other four members of the commission stated they didn’t have a problem with closing Scott Driver for one day.

County Commissioner and Tourist Development Council Chairman Brad Goodbread said he thought it was worth the inconvenience, “I’m just of a mind, whatever it takes for them to have a successful event.  It is going to shine a light on Okeechobee for the bigger issue that we are trying to put together.  I don’t mind closing down Scott Driver for a day looking at the bigger picture as long as there is another place close by where people can launch their boat.  I don’t mind a minor inconvenience not a major inconvenience.”

Okeechobee gains public use hunting ground

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved the Everglades Headwaters Water Management Area Kissimmee Bend Unit at its meeting last week.

It is located at the northern end of Okeechobee County.

It measures nearly 4,000 acres and will be available for small game, turkey and deer hunting at times during the year.

Frogging and fishing will be allowed year round.

FFWCC Commissioner Michael Sole said staff did a great job putting this proposal together, “I give kudos to staff for their work on the new hunting areas that we have.  I look forward to getting out there.”

Public Hunting Area biologist Paul Scharine said new hunting areas were also approved in Sarasota County.

“This area is a portion of the Everglades headwaters.  It will be managed by the Florida Forest Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.”

Prior to this Okeechobee did not have a facility that allowed public use hunting. Hunting opportunities include a 16 day season for archery, a three day season for muzzle loading guns, a three day family hunt, and a six day season for general gun