Now through October, boaters headed to Snake Bight near Flamingo can motor through an additional quarter-mile of the Jimmy's Lake access area.
Summer raises water depths at the Snake Bight Pole and Troll Zone near Flamingo, so Everglades National Park managers extend the one mile of idle-speed access through Jimmy's Lake to 1.25 miles.
The seasonal extension opened Monday and remains open through Oct. 31.
Park Superintendent Dan Kimball said the opening shows the value of "adaptive management" that allows regulations to change according to conditions.
The modification to the Snake Bight Pole and Troll Zone serves as "a great example of how knowledgeable park users and park managers can work together for the protection and enjoyment of Everglades National Park," Kimball said in a prepared statement.
"We have been able to identify a way to provide additional access," Kimball said, "while also ensuring that the natural and wilderness resources in the area remain protected."
The no-motor zone in Snake Bight, a shallow 9,400-acre water body, was created in January 2011 after Florida Keys fishing guides and anglers urged the park to enact a prototype for other shallow areas in Florida Bay considered for motor restrictions.
Birds and fish have increased in Snake Bight, managers and anglers agree.
However, the areas where boats are not allowed to use combustion engines remain controversial. Boaters are required to raise their outboards and move by using paddles, push poles or small electric trolling motors. The lengthened Jimmy's Lake access area, 1,000 feet wide, runs north off Tin Chan Channel.
The area is marked by signs at the end of the current northern boundary of Jimmy's Lake and three buoys at the end of the idle-speed extension area.
For project information, go to www.nps.gov/ever/parkmgmt/poleandtroll.htm.