The Parker River Refuges's comment period came to a close yesterday, November 30th. Many are asking, what did all that mean? That is a question for Matt Hillman, Refuge Manager.
A public comment period is a matter of process for an agency like The US Fish and Wildlife Service. It often is 60 days, but can be shorter or longer. Eight years of work on several solutions, with 2 different refuge managers, 1.5 years without one, FWS Realty personnel, conservation organizations, preservation agencies, municipal involvement, and just about every area elected official at the local, state and federal level, in addition to the materials FWS offered is a LOT for people to digest in only 30 days.
Senator Tarr stepped in to create one meeting on November 20, though held during the work day Thanksgiving week. All were grateful for it but felt it was not enough. Kathleen O'Connor Ives, former Sate Senator, attended and commented on this process, saying it is hardly enough time for the people to educate themselves fully, ask enough questions, and hear all sides.
But the comment period is now over. What now?
One misunderstanding is that if the Refuge got enough comments to keep The Pink House standing that it would make a difference in their plan to demolish it. People have written us asking was the comment period about voting to keep the house, put a platform on the footprint with up to 4 cars in the driveway, or to put nothing there at all? Was it just an exercise? Those are good questions that should be asked of Matt Hillman, who stated it is his decision.
The Refuge put out this statement: "Staff are currently reviewing all public comments submitted between November 1-30, 2023. It will likely take at least 1 month to analyze comments, draft responses, and edit the plan before a final draft is published some time in the New Year. While the public comment period has ended, anyone with potentially viable land exchange opportunities may still reach out to refuge staff at firstname.lastname@example.org (see this page for specific land exchange criteria)."
We the people don't have a 30 day limit. Support The Pink House has never given up and will continue to fight, now with all of you who also want to see this iconic landmark saved and restored for generations to come.
We THANK YOU for all you have done so far. And ask you to continue to make your voice heard!
Keep an eye out here and on our social media, for an article on next steps and what you can do to help!