Biscayne National Park - Human History - Park Establishment

Park Establishment

The earliest proposals for the protection of Biscayne Bay were included in proposals by Everglades National Park advocate Ernest F. Coe, whose proposed Everglades park boundaries included Biscayne Bay, its keys, interior country including what are now Homestead and Florida City, and Key Largo. Biscayne Bay, Key Largo and the adjoining inland extensions were cut from Everglades National Park before its establishment in 1947. When proposals to develop Elliott Key surfaced in 1960, Lloyd Miller, a local conservationist, asked Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall to send a Park Service reconnaissance team to review the Biscayne Bay area for inclusion in the national park system. A favorable report ensued, and with financial help from Herbert Hoover, Jr., political support was solicited, most notably from Congressman Fascell.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill creating Biscayne National Monument on October 18, 1968. The monument was expanded in 1974. Boundaries were expanded and the area was redesignated a national park by an act of Congress through Public Law 96-287, effective June 28, 1980.

The first Islandia property owner to sell land to the National Park Service was Lancelot Jones, together with Katherine Jones, Arthur's widow. They sold their lands for $1,272,500, about a third of the potential development value. Jones was given a life estate on 3 acres (1.2 ha) at the age of 70. He visited with park rangers stationed at the former Cocolobo Club, which eventually burned down in 1975. The other life estate in the park was held by Virginia Tannehill, the widow of Eastern Airlines executive Paul Tannehill. Jones' house built by Lancelot, his father and his brother, burned down in 1982. He subsequently lived in a two-room shack for the next ten years, riding out hurricanes on Porgy Key, but did leave his home permanently just before Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The house was destroyed and Jones remained in Miami until his death in 1997 at 99 years.

Read more about this topic:  Biscayne National Park, Human History

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