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Florida's Everglades National Park

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Florida Everglades National Park- nature walk. Photo ©  Teresa Plowright.

Everglades - nature walk

There is another, very different Florida... Light-years away from theme parks and busy beaches, and yet only a few hours south of Miami by car.

Florida Everglades

Florida's Everglades National Park is a national treasure: a World Heritage Site, and International Biosphere Reserve. In the words of the Everglades' most eloquent defender:

"... The miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and of water, shining and slow-moving below, the grass and water that is the meaning and the central fact of the Everglades of Florida. It is a river of grass."

"There are no other Everglades in the world."

-- Marjory Stoneman Douglas

The Florida Everglades' River of Grass is sawgrass, whose pointed blades rise up from what might seem to be swamp but is actually a huge slow-moving shallow river. Don't expect spectacular scenery, as you drive in the Park: most of the landscape is a flat expanse of sawgrass, which is why it's so important to walk the wonderful trails at the visitors' centers-- stretch your legs, feel the breeze and silence, see birds and other wildlife.

(See Visiting the Florida Everglades- tips.)

Florida Everglades: Uniqueness

The Everglades is the largest sub-tropical wilderness in the continental United States, and has lakes, "hammocks" (where trees rise above the marsh), sloughs, and mangrove forests. It's also the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles live side by side.

" Nothing anywhere else is like them: their vast glittering openness, wider than the enormous visible round of the horizon, the racing free saltness and sweetness of their massive winds, under the dazzling blue heights of space."

--Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Under Threat

Given the uniqueness and fame of the Everglades, who would think that the Park is under threat?

Factors include population increases, water levels in underwater aquifers, and sugarcane agriculture. Progress has been slow on a massive Everglades Restoration Plan. About.com's Guide for National & State Parks notes: "It may not be known to everyone, but Everglades National Park remains one of the most endangered national parks in the country." Hopefully, the Everglades National Park will get the restorative help it needs.

"They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth, remote, never wholly known."

--Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Continue to Tips about visiting The Everglades National Park.

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