On Monday, Historic City News received word that local members of the Saint Augustine Tea Party reached an accord with management of the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument that has substantially increased the area of the park where small groups may gather to exercise their freedom of expression without the need for a permit.
Chief Park Ranger Kimberly Mayo informed local Historic City News reporters that on Friday, July 12th, the National Park Service voided a citation issued to Saint Augustine Tea Party member David Heimbold; and, “no further charges relating to the incident that occurred on July 4, 2013 will be pursued.”
After news reports published locally by Historic City News, and televised by Action News in Jacksonville, exposed the citation issued to Heimbold by a Park Service ranger, charging him with being outside of a designated “first amendment” zone without a proper permit, the Superintendent of the Castillo, and his staff, determined that it was time to revisit the policy.
“The Castillo de San Marcos has re-evaluated its First Amendment-designated areas, examined past demonstrations that have taken place outside these areas, and the impact these events have had on park resources and operations,” Mayo told Historic City News. “Based on this review, it has been determined that the 25 or fewer person area may be expanded without negatively impacting either park resources or park operations.”
Effective Monday, July 29, 2013, a new map has been published and released indicating the restricted areas of the fort, the area designated for educational purposes, the permitted area for wedding ceremonies, and identifying the remainder of the monument grounds as appropriate for exercise of first amendment protected activities.