ISLAMORADA, Fla. - Frustrated by the Washington budget impasse that has closed Everglades National Park, fishing guides in the Florida Keys have spearheaded a rally hoping to convince federal officials to let them back into park waters.
Participants aboard more than 100 boats, kayaks and paddleboards gathered Wednesday near the park's eastern Florida Bay boundary, about a mile off the Keys.
Although Keys state and offshore waters remain open for sportfishing, fall is a prime season for visitors to fish in the park's shallow estuaries.
Guides who depend on Everglades access for income have lost money and are irritated by Washington leaders' inability to pass a budget to fully reopen federal resources.
The guides find no fault with Everglades officials but insist the Department of Interior provides access, even if the budget is not resolved.
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