ISLAMORADA, FL—Keys guides aboard 100 boats banded together on Wednesday to rage against a dysfunctional machine, following lost revenue due to federal closures within Everglades National Park.
“The park being closed means we can’t go fishing, that means we can’t make any money, and that means the days of fishing we are losing, we don’t get back,” said Randy Towe, a 35-year Florida Keys fishing guide who organized the protest. “Although we have offshore fishing, which is still good and that’s all fine, but a lot of people come to specifically fish in the backcountry for its beauty for the different species of fish.”
The park’s land and water areas have been closed since October 1. Guides who depend on the resource said they are frustrated with Washington’s ineffectual leadership and inability to pass a budget to reopen all federal resources.
“This is idiotic,” said longtime Keys fishing guide Gary Ellis, in an interview with the Miami Herald. “I’d like to tell them all to grow up and get a life and take care of the American people.”
More than 500 people participated in the rally.
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.