Spanning the southern tip of the Florida peninsula and most of Florida Bay, Everglades National Park is the only subtropical preserve in North America. It contains both temperate and tropical plant communities, including sawgrass prairies, mangrove and cypress swamps, pinelands, and hardwood hammocks, as well as marine and estuarine environments. The park is known for its rich bird life, particularly large wading birds, such as the roseate spoonbill, wood stork, great blue heron and a variety of egrets. It is also the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side. Everglades National Park has been designated a World Heritage Site, an International Biosphere Reserve, and a Wetland of International Importance.
Source: National Park Foundation
At a time when many people viewed the Everglades as nothing more that a mosquito-filled swamp, newspaper columnist Marjory Stoneman Douglaswrote articles revealing its beauty and portraying the fascinating plants, birds, animals, fish, reptiles, waterways, and other natural wonders of these vast wetlands. She also joined various committees dedicated to ensuring the survival of the Everglades. In 1947, she published a best-selling book called The Everglades: River of Grass. Douglas's influential work in natural history began changing people's minds about this unique natural paradise.
“There are no other Everglades in the world,” she wrote in her book. “They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth; remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them.”
Later that year, President Harry Truman designated the Everglades as a national park. Stoneman's many impassioned articles and eloquent descriptions of these wetlands played an important role in ensuring that one of the United States' great natural treasures was honored and placed under federal protection.
Big Cypress Swamp: Western Everglades, Part 1:
Big Cypress Swamp: Western Everglades, Part 2:
Big Cypress Swamp: Western Everglades, Part 3:
Big Cypress Swamp: Western Everglades, Part 4:
Treasured Places: The Everglades and Florida Keys in Peril:
Invasive Species in the Everglades: