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The Everglades, over the years and through your eyes - a Florida treasure turns 75

Houston Cypress believes that all people have an innate sense of connection to the natural word, whether they consider themselves to be religious or spiritual or neither. He encourages anyone who is interested in visiting the Everglades to make the trip, but for those who can’t he recommends visiting a local garden or a park and taking the time to just sit and listen.
Chris Foster
/
flickr
Houston Cypress believes that all people have an innate sense of connection to the natural word, whether they consider themselves to be religious or spiritual or neither. He encourages anyone who is interested in visiting the Everglades to make the trip, but for those who can’t he recommends visiting a local garden or a park and taking the time to just sit and listen.

The Everglades National Park is celebrated its 75th anniversary last week. The unique subtropical wetland ecosystem, which spans two million acres across Central and South Florida, was dedicated on December 6, 1947.

To mark the occasion, we are taking a look at stunning images that show the history of the park and its majestic beauty – including photographs by our readers and listeners.

The extraordinary 'River of Grass'

One of the most extraordinary yet fragile ecosystems in the planet, the Everglades provide essential habitats for animals like the manatee, the American crocodile, various bird species and the Florida panther.

For Floridians, the ‘River of Grass’ provides drinking water for more than 8 million people, protects communities from flooding and supports the state's fishing industry.

Evette Alexander, executive director of Artists in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE), said the Everglades is "much more than sawgrass, but a constellation of different habitats all working together to support such unique biodiversity."

A history of conservation

At a time when it was targeted for drainage and urbanization, land developer turned conservationist Ernest F. Coe was one of the key figures in the establishment of the Everglades National Park.

It was dedicated a month after Marjory Stoneman Douglas published her influential book The Everglades: River of Grass. The journalist founded the Friends of the Everglades conservation group and became one of the park's staunchest defenders.

HistoryMiami Museum, in association with the Everglades National Park, is holding the exhibit Traversing the Wilderness: Exploring Human Transportation Across the Everglades. Showcasing historic photos that show how humans have navigated the landscape, and the beginnings of the park, it is being held until February 12, 2023. For more information, click here.

A South Florida favorite

At least one million people visit the Everglades every year — including many of WLRN's listeners and readers. Through WLRN's Instagram account, they have shared with us some of their favorite photos and memories this week.

"It's my favorite place in the world and helping protect it is my reason for existence," said Emilio Lerdo de Tejada, 27. The environmental engineer said he was in awe the first time he visited the park, in 2020. "I remember feeling overwhelming peacefulness and calmness," he wrote. He's since become an annual pass holder and visits the national park frequently.

Maria Llores said the wilderness of the Everglades "nourishes the soul." She added: "The Everglades is where I go when I need to be reminded that the world is more than concrete and traffic and phone screens."

Photographer Alejandro Cupi wrote: "It's my space for creation, meditation and silence."
Copyright 2022 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

 The American alligator ranges throughout the southeastern United States, and alligators within Everglades National Park exist at the southern extreme of their range.
NPS Photo / flickr
/
flickr
The American alligator ranges throughout the southeastern United States, and alligators within Everglades National Park exist at the southern extreme of their range.
 This is an aerial view of the Lopez River area in the Everglades. The Lopez River is the closest campsite to Everglades City.
NPS Photo / flickr
/
flickr
This is an aerial view of the Lopez River area in the Everglades. The Lopez River is the closest campsite to Everglades City.
 Once common throughout the southeastern United States, fewer than 100 Florida panthers are estimated to live in the wilds of south Florida today. (NPS)
NPS Photo / Flickr
/
Flickr
Once common throughout the southeastern United States, fewer than 100 Florida panthers are estimated to live in the wilds of south Florida today. (NPS)
 Everglades National Park monitors manatees by tagging them and tracking them through aerial surveys. In 2005, scientists observed 176 adults and 7 calves in park waters. The surveys revealed that manatees frequently enter tidal creeks to obtain freshwater for drinking and refuge during cold weather. Park scientists also evaluate manatee health by capturing individuals and taking biological samples for laboratory study.
NPS Photo / flickr
/
flickr
Everglades National Park monitors manatees by tagging them and tracking them through aerial surveys. In 2005, scientists observed 176 adults and 7 calves in park waters. The surveys revealed that manatees frequently enter tidal creeks to obtain freshwater for drinking and refuge during cold weather. Park scientists also evaluate manatee health by capturing individuals and taking biological samples for laboratory study.
 Because of its location away from the lights of local communities, Everglades National Park is an excellent place to view the wonders of the night sky.
Anthony Sleiman, NPS Photo / flickr
/
flickr
Because of its location away from the lights of local communities, Everglades National Park is an excellent place to view the wonders of the night sky.
 The Sawgrass Prairie is also known as the sawgrass marsh. This habitat stays wet most of the year. It’s only when the Everglades enter its Dry season that water levels drop and the ground becomes visible.
David Carrillo, NPS Photo / flickr
/
flickr
The Sawgrass Prairie is also known as the sawgrass marsh. This habitat stays wet most of the year. It’s only when the Everglades enter its Dry season that water levels drop and the ground becomes visible.
Robert Krayer, NPS Photo / flickr
/
flickr
 When the water runs out, passengers switch from poling to dragging a canoe to deeper water, circa
1920.
South Florida Photograph Collection / HistoryMiami Museum
/
HistoryMiami Museum
When the water runs out, passengers switch from poling to dragging a canoe to deeper water, circa 1920.
 A park ranger using an airboat to patrol sawgrass prairies. Flat bottom airboats became popular in the 1930s when they were independently invented and used for frog hunting in the shallow Everglades prairies, circa 1960.
South Florida Photograph Collection. / HistoryMiami Museum
/
HistoryMiami Museum
A park ranger using an airboat to patrol sawgrass prairies. Flat bottom airboats became popular in the 1930s when they were independently invented and used for frog hunting in the shallow Everglades prairies, circa 1960.
 Pa Hay Okee Trail. A combination of roads, parking lots, and boardwalk trails have replaced canoes and slogging (walking in the water) for most visitors to the Everglades, 1960.
Miami News Collection / HistoryMiami Museum
/
HistoryMiami Museum
Pa Hay Okee Trail. A combination of roads, parking lots, and boardwalk trails have replaced canoes and slogging (walking in the water) for most visitors to the Everglades, 1960.
 Seminole job foreman, Corey Osceola (center), and his team use small skiffs to clear a path for the Halfway Creek boat tour trail in the 10,000 Islands area of Everglades National Park, December 7, 1955.
Miami News Collection / HistoryMiami Museum
/
HistoryMiami Museum
Seminole job foreman, Corey Osceola (center), and his team use small skiffs to clear a path for the Halfway Creek boat tour trail in the 10,000 Islands area of Everglades National Park, December 7, 1955.
 To install park boundary signs, park rangers use a modified tractor to access remote parts of the newly
established Everglades National Park, 1953.
Miami News Collection / HistoryMiami Museum
/
HistoryMiami Museum
To install park boundary signs, park rangers use a modified tractor to access remote parts of the newly established Everglades National Park, 1953.
 This image shows a Seminole family outing. Long, shallow, dugout canoes, that could be poled or paddled through the shallow waters of the Everglades, have been used by people for thousands of years, January 18, 1921.
Claude Matlack Photograph Collection / HistoryMiami Museum
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HistoryMiami Museum
This image shows a Seminole family outing. Long, shallow, dugout canoes, that could be poled or paddled through the shallow waters of the Everglades, have been used by people for thousands of years, January 18, 1921.
 Ernest F. Coe stands in a sawgrass prairie holding a walking stick. In 1928, Coe and others organized the Tropical Everglades Park Association in which, he persistently and almost single-handedly pushed for the establishment of Everglades National Park, circa 1930.
Claude Matlack Photograph Collection / HistoryMiami Museum
/
HistoryMiami Museum
Ernest F. Coe stands in a sawgrass prairie holding a walking stick. In 1928, Coe and others organized the Tropical Everglades Park Association in which, he persistently and almost single-handedly pushed for the establishment of Everglades National Park, circa 1930.
 By the mid-1950s the National Park Service paved the Ingraham Highway and began collecting entrance fees at this thatch-roofed entrance station. Today, most visitors explore the Everglades from the comfort of their cars, circa 1955.
South Florida Photograph Collection / HistoryMiami Museum
/
HistoryMiami Museum
By the mid-1950s the National Park Service paved the Ingraham Highway and began collecting entrance fees at this thatch-roofed entrance station. Today, most visitors explore the Everglades from the comfort of their cars, circa 1955.
The Everglades as seen by WLRN listeners: Campers sit along the water at Long Pine Key Campground in Everglades National Park. April  2022.
Maria A. Llorens /
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The Everglades as seen by WLRN listeners: Campers sit along the water at Long Pine Key Campground in Everglades National Park. April 2022.
Rafael A. Mendez Sr /
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Ania Freer documenting the Everglades in April 2022.
Ania Freer /
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Ania Freer documenting the Everglades in April 2022.
 A great white heron wades in water on Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park. March 2022.
/ Maria A. Llorens
/
Maria A. Llorens
A great white heron wades in water on Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park. March 2022.

Helen Acevedo