Carolyn F. Stephenson
The southern tip of Florida is the location of the Everglades National Park. This unique park with its subtropic climate, is exploding with wildlife and vegetation, which thrive along, on, and in the freshwater river that is about 6 inches deep, about 50 miles wide, and about 100 miles long and slowly moves toward the Florida Bay. This river drys out during the winter months and when the summer rains come it flows again. The Indians call this river Pahayokee which means grassy water because of the saw grass that is rooted in the shallow river.
The saw grass dominates the Everglades. Every where you look the grass forms a waving sea which covers miles of flat, wet land. It grows during the wet season then drys out during the winter. The blades look like a saw with its jagged edges. The edges are sharp yet the tender base is food for white-tailed deer.
Wild life abounds in the Everglades. Birds such as the Osprey, Great White Heron, Brown Pelican, Wood Stork, Anhinga, Roseate Spoonbill, and Southern Bald Eagle live in this protected area. Alligators, Green Sea Turtles, Manatees, Crocodiles, and the Florida Panther continue to survive with the help of man in this unusual park.
, a National Park Handbook, is an excellent source of information relating to the plants and animals of the Everglades. It has wonderful illustrations that help one to understand the history, wildlife, and plants of the park. Checklists of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, trees, and tree-like plants are located in the handbook for reference. A glossary is included to define terms relating to the Everglades. This handbook would be helpful to all who are interested in learning about the natural history of this subtropical park unit.
Visitors to the Everglades have lots to see and do. Upon receiving a park map, you may go along on your own to birdwatch, hike, fish, or camp. If one chooses, the Ranger-guided activities include talks, hikes, canoe trips, and campfire programs. Depending on time and interest, visitors can find something that will make them stop, look, listen, and learn about the Everglades National Park.