219 Everglades National Park custom map by Lisa Middleton
Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S, and it protects an unrivaled landscape that provides vital habitat for many rare, exotic, and endangered species, which includes the American Crocodile, the Florida Panther, and the West Indian Manatee. This national treasure and designated World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance, is an expansive area of land in South Florida, consisting of 1.5 million acres of wetland that features one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. Realizing the importance of this fragile ecosystem, Congress established the Everglades as a National Park in 1934, and in 1947, the park was dedicated by President Harry S. Truman.
The presence of Native American settlers in the Everglades dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries, with groups including the Seminoles. In the 1800s, the village of Flamingo was established by settlers near the end of the swampy Everglades. The landscape is mostly a mix of freshwater and coastal sawgrass prairies, mangroves, marshland, and pine and cypress woods. Thousands of years ago, the Everglades covered much of Florida, from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico. The Everglades has two identifiable portions, a primitive portion that is usually explored by scientists and brave adventurers, and another portion sometimes called “river of grass,” where visitors can walk, camp, and canoe.
Despite the threat of draining and development in much of the northern stretches of the swamp, the Everglades still offers a variety of enjoyable activities. Shark Valley Trail, Snake Bight Trail, and the Long Pine Key Nature Trail are some of the best bicycling and hiking areas, where the diversity of habitats within South Florida can be explored. Birdwatchers can spot a single blue heron or an entire flock of roseate spoonbills, ibis, ospreys, and flamingos, among other birds in the Everglades. Both front-country and backcountry camping can be experienced in the Everglades, as well as canoeing and kayaking, which can offer great vantage points on the wildlife and vegetation. Saltwater and freshwater sport fishing is also a common activity in the Everglades. These and many other activities, as well as the incredible biodiversity of the Everglades, attract thousands each year.
All sizes are approximate.
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