The Everglades

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is a national park located in South Florida andcomprises of “1.5 million acres of wetland” (National ParkService 1). It protects a landscape, which provides neededhabitation for many rare as well as endangered species (Molloy 1). is an interesting place to visit because one is ableto see many and different animals. In addition, visitors can engagein different activities, which make visiting the park interesting. Inthe following discussion, the paper provides important informationabout National Park.

History

The word Everglades was initially used in Florida in 1823 to referto an opening or clearing within a forest. There are several smallislands located in National Park, which were initiallycovered by trees. However, the park is largely an area of flatlandthat is covered in grass. This explains the use of the phraseEverglades, because by standing in any of the islands, one is able tosee a large clearing (Hamilton 7).

The park was founded in 1947 with the objective of preservingendangered natural resources (National Geographic 1).According to the National Park Service,

“Water in south Florida once flowed freely from the Kissimmee Riverto Lake Okeechobee and southward over low-lying lands to theestuaries of Biscayne Bay, the Ten Thousand Islands, and Florida Bay.This shallow, slow moving sheet of water covered almost 11,000 squaremiles, creating a mosaic of ponds, sloughs, saw grass marshes,hardwood hammock, and forested uplands” (1).

However, colonial settlers used the Everglades as farm land, inaddition to establishing communities in the region. The outcome was asevere damage of the Everglades ecosystem as well as its supportedspecies. Hence, in 1947, scientists, environmental advocates andconservationists founded the park to avoid enhanced degradation ofthe land, animals and plants (National Park Service 1).

The park protects the southern tip of Florida, which is the biggestsubtropical wilderness in America. While many parks are establishedwith a historical significance, or named after important historicfigures, main objective is to preserve the ecosystem.There are few watery habitats in America, owing to urban developmentas well as agribusiness. Despite the fact that the park is federallyprotected, it continues to face diminishing water habitats. As aresult, it is designated “as a UNESCO World Heritage site andInternational Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of InternationalImportance, and a specially protected area under the CartagenaTreaty” (National Geographic 1). It is apparent thatmeasures have been put in place to ensure the protection of TheEverglades.

Animals and Plants

Animals

The most interesting factor about visiting NationalPark is that one is able to see animals and plant species that arenot available in other parks. The park aims at ensuring that most ofthe endangered species are preserved. In addition, visitors can ofteninteract closely with the wildlife, which acts as a great learningopportunity about the different animals in the park. Some of theanimals living in the park include “the Florida panther, theAmerican crocodile and the Florida manatee, which are a fewendangered species” (Graf 15). The park is most famous due to itsamphibians and reptiles that comprise of different snake types,frogs, lizards and turtles. It also acts as the only park globallythat has crocodiles and alligators living together (Graf 15).

Above forty mammal species reside in the park. The species compriseof animals associated with dry as well as wet habitats. Animalsadapted to dry habitats have managed to survive in the semi-aquaticenvironment, which makes up most of the park. Thus, it is common forindividuals visiting the park to notice a deer searching for food inthe saw grass landscape, or a bobcat within the mangroves (NationalPark Service 1). has only one rabbit species,which is the marsh rabbit. The rabbit lives in wetlands and is attimes spotted swimming in the freshwater marshes. Other mammals inthe park include opossums, raccoons, gray fox and river otters.

is also associated with bird species, because therivers within the park attract different kinds of birds. The birdsare categorized as land, wading or prey birds. The wading birds aremost common in comprising of sixteen unique species.They are referred to as wading due to their long legs that make itpossible to wade in the water and catch food. Most of the wadingbirds in the park are the white ibis, which has a long beak and feedson crayfish. Other species include the wood stork, which is bigger ascompared to the ibis, herons, egret, least bittern and roseatespoonbill (National Park Service 1).

Plants

The national park is a significant habitat for various plant speciesthat are either prevalent or lawfully protected. environment supports a vast array of plants to grow, which results inan attractive flora in the park. By visiting the park, one is able tonotice different types of grasses, bromeliads, succulents and cacti,lichens, algae, orchids and wildflowers (National Park Service1). The distribution of vegetation in is controlled bythe park’s hydrologic pattern. This refers to the duration offlooding, salinity and quality of water. Plant species that inhabitthe park are those capable of adapting to the water quality andsalinity, as well as floods that are common in Everglades.

Activities

The main reason why people visit is to see theanimals and plants. Individuals are able to walk around the park andlearn about the endangered wildlife. As Graf (16) explains, watchingwildlife is the main and most admired activity at the park.Regardless of an individual’s location within the park, one is ableto spot an animal species. Birds are mainly spotted from the Floridabay, while crocodiles and alligators can be seen within the park. Oneis able to learn about different bird species by observing theirbehavior, like eating habits and movements. It is a rewarding andunique experience to be able to watch birds move as a flock or alone.

Visiting the park is not only restricted to seeing wildlife andplants. Other activities include biking, camping, boating, fishing,canoeing, hiking and taking part in ranger programs. Because the parkis large and comprises of different regions, it is exciting forvisitors to cycle around as they get to observe the landscape. Bikingcan be done in groups or alone, and is enhances the possibility thatone is able to visit the different regions within the park. Majorityof the sceneries within the park can be accessed by water. This makesboating a common experience and activity for people visiting thepark. The advantage with boating is that one is able to see thedifferent water plants and animals more closely as compared toobserving them from the footpaths.

attracts people from different regions of thecountry. People may feel restricted from visiting the park becausethey do not reside within Florida owing to challenges such asaccommodation. However, the park has campsites, which means thatindividuals can plan to visit without worrying aboutwhere to stay. While camping, visitors can engage in differentactivities that make the camping experience more interesting. Theactivities include fishing, hiking and canoeing. The park is popularfor its fresh as well as saltwater fishing sport, hiking through thelong trails within the park and gliding using a canoe makes itpossible to view the plants and animals in the glades (NationalPark Service 1).

When to Visit

According to National Geographic (1), the best time to visitthe park is during the dry season, which is from December to March.During the season, majority of the park activities are availableowing to the favorable weather. In addition, one is able to observewildlife easily as the animals come out to enjoy the weather. On thecontrary, the worst time to visit the park is during the wet season.Between April and November, park services are restricted as theweather is unfavorable for activities like hiking or camping.

Conclusion

is an interesting place to visit. One is able to seedifferent animals and plant species, in addition to taking part indifferent outdoor activities. The park is significant due to itsefforts in preserving our ecosystem as well as acting as a habitat tomany endangered wildlife.

Works Cited

Graf, Mike.&nbspEvergladesNational Park. Mankato,Minn: Bridgestone Books, 2014.Print.

Hamilton, John. EvergladesNational Park. New York:ABDO Publishing Company, 2011.

Molloy, Johnny.&nbspAPaddler`s Guide to Everglades National Park.Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2015. Print.

National Geographic. Everglades National Park, 2016. Web. 10Nov. 2016.http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/everglades-national-park/

National Park Service. Everglades.https://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/nature/index.htm