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As of today, various locations in and around King’s Bay are adorned with colorful signs or kiosks meant to flag visitors about the rules of conduct in the bay and offer tidbits about the area’s manatee population.
This comes as the first winter season after King’s Bay was declared a manatee refuge comes to a close and the summer recreation season emerges.
As part of being declared a refuge, several rules of conduct and speed zones were created and officials had that in mind when they devised the kiosks.
“We wanted something that explained the rules, but is also aesthetic and appealing,” said Ivan Vicente of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“So, we picked pictures of some of the world’s best underwater photographers, like Alex Mustard, to put on the panels,” Vicente said. The photographers whose works are displayed on the kiosks also include Carol Grant and Wayne Lynch.
Vicente said the kiosk panels should be able spread awareness about manatees for visitors and educate the public about the rules introduced in 2012.
The new kiosks are comprised of three panels and mainly carry the following messages:
* Manatee viewing prohibitions.
* Manatee population dynamics in King’s Bay.
* King’s Bay manatee protection areas.
* Manatee speed zones.
The kiosks are at the following bay-area locations: Crystal River City boat ramp, King’s Bay Park, Hunter’s Spring Park, Pete’s Pier boat ramp, Fort Island Gulf Park and Gulf Beach boat ramps, Twin Rivers Marina, Plantation boat ramp, Crystal River Preserve State Park, Port Hotel and Marina boat ramp, Best Western boat ramp, Days Inn boat ramp, Encore Campground boat ramp.
Vicente there also is a floating kiosk at King Spring. Pete’s Pier will have two — one at the boat ramp and another at the tackle shop.