JohnBob Carlos/Facebook
A group of people is staging a five-day protest march along the proposed 76-mile-long bike route between Naples and Miami, Florida.

Five-Day March Under Way Against Proposed Everglades Bike Path

ICTMN Staff
3/30/15

Miccosukee tribal members and other Indigenous Peoples in the Florida Everglades are wary of a proposed bike path through the territory they have lived in for generations.

A group of people opposing the River of Grass Greenway (ROGG), which would run for 17 miles from Naples to Miami, are on day two of a planned five-day march along the proposed route to protest the path, Walk for Mother Earth.

“Walk in opposition to the proposed construction of the ROGG Bike Path,” the group said on its Facebook page. “To educate the public in the significance of the destruction to the land, water, animals, plant life, indigenous burial grounds, battle grounds, and rights that will occur if this path is allowed to be built.”

The path would run parallel to U.S. 41, also known as the Tamiami Trail, and go through Indian reservations, national and state parks, protected wetlands and other sensitive places, according to the News-Press.

"This is the last place they were driven to," said Karen Dwyer, one of the founders of the Stone Crab Alliance, a local human rights and environmental group, to the News-Press. "There's no place else to go. They don't want a recreational bike path built in their backyard. You can try to be as ecological as you can, but there's going to be destruction."

"Everything will be affected, the land, the water, the animals, all the plant life, the ecosystem," said vocal opponent Betty Osceola, Miccosukee, to the News-Press. "People are part of the ecosystem. They want to show beauty but they're going to destroy beauty to show it."

Some proponents said the protests are premature, since the studies are merely conceptual at the moment. Others said that local and indigenous people have indeed been consulted, and that the path has been carefully routed to avoid controversial areas.

“This effort has included extensive public involvement of which the Everglades People have been integrally involved,” a spokesperson for the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department told Newsweek. “The proposed trail is not intended to encroach into tribal lands. Great effort has been made to insure that the trail is entirely within the road right-of-way for the identified culturally significant areas.”

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