Islamorada Founders Park, located at 87000 Overseas Highway, will reopen Sunday, Dec. 3, after a nearly three-month closure. The Village is happy to welcome back residents who have been eager to take their dogs to the dog park for a leash-free run and families that have been waiting to return for a relaxing day at the beach.
Facilities that will remain closed are the Ron Levy Aquatic Center, the golf driving range and the soccer/multi-use field.
All other Founders Park recreational areas will be open to the public. Everyone is encouraged to come back to Founders Park and enjoy the beach, volleyball court, picnic areas, playgrounds, fitness/walking trails, tennis courts, basketball court, dog park, outdoor fitness park and the pickleball court.
Founders Park hours are sunrise to sunset.
Music by “Bloodline” star Norbert Leo Butz, a silent auction featuring “Bloodline” and Jimmy Buffett memorabilia and a chance to benefit Hurricane Irma relief efforts in the Florida Keys await attendees at a one-of-a-kind concert set for 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17.
To be staged at The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton St., the concert evening stars the charismatic Butz, an award-winning stage and screen actor who portrays Kevin Rayburn in the original Netflix series filmed primarily in the Upper Keys.
Equally acclaimed for his musical talents, Butz is to appear with his country-rock band consisting of Jason Laughlin and James Leahey. His performances have been praised for their rock and blues edge and powerful emotional authenticity.
The evening’s silent auction includes memorabilia from the hit Netflix drama and items donated by famed singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, who channels his close ties to the Keys into music rich in references to the island chain and its unique lifestyle.
more “‘Bloodline’ Star’s Concert to Benefit Keys Hurricane Relief”
The Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service has reopened all state parks in the Florida Keys for day use following the impacts of Hurricane Irma. With the opening of Bahia Honda State Park today, all 11 state parks and trails in the Keys are open.
Visitor safety remains paramount as recovery efforts continue. Florida State Parks staff continue to work as expediently as possible to finish remaining cleanup and repairs. Amenities and access to certain areas of the parks may be limited until this work is completed.
According to the National Park Service, effective today, Thursday, Nov. 2, Everglades National Park’s main park road to Flamingo will open at 7 a.m., and remain open thereafter 24 hours, seven days a week for the first time since Hurricane Irma hit Sept. 10.
Although the boat ramps at Flamingo — which is in Monroe County — are open, no services, such as restrooms, fuel, marina store or concession tours, are available.
The campgrounds at Flamingo also remain closed until further notice.
Key Largo Community Park opened today, with a few limitations. The beach volleyball courts are not ready and part of the parking lot is still a temporary debris collection site.
The park was damaged by Hurricane Irma, which struck on Sept. 10. Since a week after the storm, Monroe County public works crews have been working at the county park seven days a week — with the exception of Columbus Day Weekend — to make repairs and get the park in shape to reopen to the public.
The work included trimming trees, removing debris, repairing asphalt, checking electrical circuits, repairing the walls to the basketball courts and more.
“The list goes on and on,” Monroe County’s Robert Glassmer said. “We’ve been working steady, including many weekends to get it opened.”
Fury Water Adventures offered the “Commotion on the Ocean Sunset Cruise” in Key West at no charge to all first responders working on Irma recovery and their family members.
Over the course of 10 days, 430 people, including Keys police, fire rescue, power company technicians, tree trimming service providers, Keys Energy employees, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, and members of the armed forces, enjoyed an opportunity to take a break from all their hard work and sail on a Fury Catamaran.
“I had a great time,” said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Mason, U.S. Naval Air Station Key West. “It’s very exciting to do and see things like this, and just know that people support us.”
more “Fury Water Adventures Hosted 430 First Responders on Free Sunset Cruises”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed post-Irma Key deer index surveys in the animal’s core habitats on Big Pine and No Name keys Driving survey work following procedures used since 1968 began immediately upon the return of refuge staff from mandatory evacuation and continued for several weeks.
“These Key deer and the natural habitat they depend on are pretty resilient. First they made it through the New World screwworm infestation last year and now through the direct hit of a Category 4 hurricane. We are happy to report Key deer population numbers are well within the range we observed before Irma,” said Refuge Manager Daniel Clark.
The driving surveys provide an index to Key deer population size and serve to inform managers on population trends and overall status. Prior to Hurricane Irma, density estimates were routinely obtained using these same standardized methods. After Irma, increased numbers of surveys were conducted to ensure an accurate estimate of the population since there are an increased number of response and recovery vehicles on the roads as well as piles of debris.
The most recent estimate collected prior to Hurricane Irma determined approximately 1,100 Key deer occupied the core range on Big Pine and No Name keys. Survey estimates post-Hurricane Irma suggest 949 Key deer live in these same areas. Key deer are now in the mating season and healthy, active deer are readily seen in the core area. So far the refuge has positively confirmed 21 storm-related Key deer deaths. Since the storm, the Refuge has documented 12 deer deaths from vehicle collisions, up slightly from this time during previous years. The Refuge encourages visitors, contractors and residents to drive slowly and safely from Big Pine Key to Sugarloaf to protect Key deer and other wildlife.
more “Press Release: Key Deer Population Makes it Through Another Major Incident”
Monroe County Sheriff’s School Resource Sergeant Eric Mixon worked with Sugarloaf School Counselor Rebecca Palomino to match these LEGO sets, donated by LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Atlanta, with the children who needed them most at the school. Sugarloaf School is located in one of the most damaged parts of Monroe County and the children attending the school come from families most affected by Hurricane Irma.