The Everglades is divided into five separate areas, one of which is the Everglades National Park. When we last visited the Everglades, we stopped at a Visitors Center and listened to a lecture about the history, wildlife, and trees and plants that thrive in the wetlands that covers 1.5 million acres, over 2410 square miles of South Florida from Lake Okeechobee to the tip of the southern peninsula of the State. After his prepared talk, the Park Ranger told us that he was not suppose to show us this, but out of grave concern, he displayed a series of maps depicting the probable sea rise due to Global Warming. The maps graphically indicated that the Everglades and a significant portion of South Florida will disappear beneath the ocean! With a maxim elevation of 8 feet above sea level the Everglades National Park, along with adjacent South Florida is the most threatened part of the USA.
After the lecture, we drove across the north side of the park on the Tamiami Trail, US Highway 41, that goes from the west coast to greater Miami. It was a beautiful drive and gave us the opportunity to see marsh vegetation and Cypress trees, hardwood hammock trees, and mangrove swamp plants.
Before the Park Ranger’s lecture we had taken a boat ride that transported us from the northwest part of the Park out to the Gulf of Mexico. Our captain/guide was quite knowledgeable and our trip was very interesting, scenic, and educational, I highly recommend that you get out of your car and get on the water for closeup view of the Glades. Our trip was took us passed many mangrove islands. Other boat rides in other parts of the Everglades will carry you across marshland in air boats.
Shark Valley is another stop on US Highway 41 to visit. There you can walk above the swamp water and saw grass and go to the top of the 45 foot observation tower for expansive views of the wetlands. You may also wish take a walk on the Otter Cave Hammock Trail into the woodlands (.25 of a mile), while there.
For those of you who like walking, you can take short self guided tours on the Anhinga Trail (.8 of a mile), the Gumbo Limbo trail (.4 of a mile) over a saw grass marsh and through woodlands.. The Pay-hay-okee Overlook Trail (.2 of a mile) will give good views of the wilderness. These are just a few of the trails that will provide opportunities to see the Park closeup. There are others, some much longer. Along these trails you may see native wildlife, including alligators,
The Seminole Indians in the Florida Everglades are the only tribe of native Americans that have not signed a peace treaty with the United States. They are the “unconquered people”. They can be found throughout Florida. particularly in South Florida. The Seminoles are comprised of three tribal groups, There are several tribal locations such as the Miccosukee Indian Village on Highway 41. The Big Cypress Seminole Reservation is the largest of the six Florida Indian reservations located in the State. There you can visit the Smithsonian affiliated Ah-Tahthi-Ki Museum and learn about the tribal history and culture, and see an Indian wrestle an alligator. At this tourist attraction you can also meet the people, take tours, taste Indian food , and purchase souvenirs.
We have not yet visited the southern part of the Everglades, a trip to which I am forward. l am sure that it is as fascinating as the northern areas. I look forward to seeing it before it disappears. There is much to see throughout the Glades. Hopefully, climate change will end and prove the Park Ranger wrong; but should he be correct, you may want to place a visit to the Everglades at or near the top of your bucket list. Happy travels!
Below are some links that will be helpful, when planning your trip:
Amazon, Accommodations, Restaurants, National Park Service