Everglades National Park
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Amazing, Fantastic, Vital Everglades
You will not find another park anywhere in the world quite like the Florida Everglades. It's the third largest national park in the United States—outside Alaska —an International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, and it’s been designated a World Heritage Site. Stretching over 5000 square miles in Southwest Florida, the entire park spans more than 1.5 million acres and teems with plant and wildlife. In fact, Everglades National Park was originally established to protect the biological diversity of the entire Southwest Florida area.
Water, Water, Water
Formed from centuries of water and rain overflow from Lake Okeechobee to the north, the Everglades are marked by waterways, tidal bays, lakes and streams. The movement of the water, rain and wind shapes the low, flat plains into a variety of interesting shapes. For example, you may see dense stands of hardwood trees growing on just a few inches of land, carved by the flow of water into a teardrop shape. During the wet summer season, much of the Everglades is a wide, grassy river.
Everglades National Park
A Sensitive Balance
As the largest subtropical wilderness anywhere in the United States, you will find plants and animals in Everglades National Park that you won’t see anywhere else. Many are dependent upon the park and the balance of its sensitive ecosystem for survival. You may explore native sawgrass prairies, mangrove and cypress swamps, pinelands and hardwood hammocks, as well as marine and estuarine environments. If you're a birdwatcher, you’ll enjoy the hundreds of avian species attracted to this rich biological environment. Large wading birds, such as the roseate spoonbill, wood stork, great blue heron and more are regularly found in the park. The Everglades is also home to the endangered Florida Panther, ensuring its protection against coastal development for many more years.
Not Just a Marsh
The Everglades are so much more than a swamp! You will find a great variety of plants and animals living here, each thriving in its own distinct habitat. Fish, birds, succulent plants, sawgrass, hardwood trees, cypress and pine dot the landscape. Marine life thrives in the deepest bays, spanning over 800 square miles of water. You will see wading birds gathering to feed or nest in the mangrove forests which are found in the channels and rivers. Coastal prairies are bursting with low growing desert plants, which are able to withstand periodic flooding brought on by hurricanes, winds and water.
Fire and Water
It may be difficult to imagine, but just as the flow of water from wetlands to the north is important to ensure the survival of the Everglades´ "river of grass," fire also plays a vital role in the Everglades’ healthy existence. Without fire, faster growing hardwood trees would block light to the pine seedlings, which would then die. Predator populations would increase until the habitat was out of balance. Fire allows plant communities to eliminate decaying vegetation and provides for new growth. Nutrients released from the burn along with new growth improve the habitat and benefit both plant and wildlife.
Camp Out Hang Out
You may camp, hike, drive, tour and boat into the Florida Everglades National Park. Explore the diversity of this biological paradise by personal vehicle, commercial tour bus, bicycle, motorboat, canoe or kayak or take advantage of a boat or tram tour. Powerboats, canoes, and kayaks can be brought into the park or rented and are the perfect method for exploring the mangroves, hammocks and wetland prairies. Follow a canoe and kayak trail to view alligators and a multitude of tropical and temperate birds. Spend a day or a week touring the backcountry, or sleeping in established campgrounds. Getting close up and personal is the best way to experience this amazing, vital, invigorating place!
Open All Year Round
Fees vary depending upon mode of entry (car, camper, van, motor coach, minibus, van, sedan, bicycle, boat, or by foot) and length of intended stay. Annual passes may be purchased, allowing for unlimited visits to the park for a year from the date of purchase.
The main park entrance is located just west of Homestead and Florida City.
Where to Call
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