You gotta love the feel of the place.

Good vibes are everywhere. Spreading out over a million acres, this plainly amazing place is bigger than the state of Delaware.

Yet there are no malls. No bowling alleys. No glitzy commercial intensity.

How could this be?

It didn’t come easy, this Everglades National Park. There were years of struggles, political and judicial, to remove gill netting and all market presence from the park, and to safeguard the park’s quietude for all citizens.

Park waters, we all own them.

Over the decades we’ve covered the tumultuous times as well as the fascinating fishing and visiting opportunities in the park. Now, let’s start 2013 with a resolution that we won’t take this special place for granted in any way.

I was reminded the other day of the park’s unique ambience when Editor Jeff Weakley told of a recent trip into the Glades backcountry. “There’s just something about the park that gives you an especially good feeling that’s hard to describe,” he said.

We can soak up these hallowed waters that, hey, we all own. We’re the entrepreneurs, thanks.

And we must continue the fight against agricultural pollution to the north and mismanagement
of waters from Lake Okeechobee. Park officials themselves summarize the background this way:

“Water in south Florida once flowed freely from the Kissimmee River to Lake Okeechobee and southward over low-lying lands to the estuaries of Biscayne Bay, the Ten Thousand Islands, and Florida Bay. This shallow, slow-moving sheet of water covered almost 11,000 square miles, creating a mosaic of ponds, sloughs, sawgrass marshes, hardwood hammock, and forested uplands. For thousands of years this intricate system evolved into a finely balanced ecosystem that formed the biological infrastructure for the southern half of the state.

“However, to early colonial settlers and developers the Everglades were potential farm land and communities. By the early 1900s, the drainage process to transform wetland to land ready to be developed was underway. The results would be severely damaging to the ecosystem and the species it supported.”
Hopefully, more public officials will wriggle away from influences of special interests and take significant steps to truly restore the Glades and nurture the park.

Karl Wickstrom

Load Comments ( )

Don’t forget to sign up!

Get the Top Stories from Florida Sportsman Delivered to Your Inbox Every Week