Wednesday May 7, 2008
23 miles west of the Turnpike on Tamiami Trail (click the map above for Google directions), in the heart of the northern Everglades, sits something rather remarkable — an all-access, super-easy nature trail known as Shark Valley. The trail is paved, and accessible by foot, bicycle (bring your own or rent), or tram tour. By bike, it’s just the right length that just about anyone can sit on a bike and finish it at a leisurely pace. The trail is a loop, so at the end you end up back at the visitor center, but at the far end you’re deep into the Everglades, far from civilization, with the birds and the alligators. It’s sort of a must-do for anyone who lives anywhere in South Florida.
This is what it’s really like in the Everglades. Peaceful, and stretching on into forever with grass, occasional patches of solid ground and a few trees, and swamp (note the water visible at the bottom of this photo.
Bleh, I don’t have a photo of the gators you see hanging out just off the path, but they’re there. (No worries, they’ll leave you alone.) Did get this little guy sunning himself, though.
Mostly what you get is lots and lots of birds, in all different shapes and sizes. Not sure what this fellah was hunting in the muck. Something delicious probably. Previously, we met this guy.
At the farthest end of the loop, you come to a rather improbably lookout tower. The views are fantastic, but again, it’s more about the vastness, not something you can reproduce in a photo. Go check it out for yourself.
Thursday May 1, 2008
Last week, the Miami-Dade commission approved several developments beyond the UDB, and while the developments are still up in the air pending a mayoral veto, this spells trouble. A Time Magazine article very nicely lays out the compromised integrity of various members of the commission (“One of the Lowe’s project’s biggest backers on the commission is Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who is under federal investigation for allegedly receiving gifts from developers whose plans he’d voted for.”), but it also points out a larger point.
Nominally underway is a $10 billion Everglades restoration project funded by the federal government. In actuality, the whole effort is troubled and behind schedule. How, the Time article asks, can South Florida expect such a huge national investment in the ‘glades when we can’t resist paving more and more of it over? (via TM)
Thursday December 13, 2007
The South Florida Water Management District is working on ranking the priorities of various elements of the Everglades restoration project, so that they’ll be ready as the budget of the program gets slashed. How’s that half-full glass looking, there? (And speaking of whom, we have a Rick sighting.)
Wednesday December 5, 2007
Everglades National Park celebrates its 60th anniversary tomorrow. As we pointed out a couple of weeks ago, the restoration of the park is in serious turmoil, and the latest is that the Army Corps of Engineers are trying all sorts of tactics to get elected officials to pony up the necessary money.
There is a lesson here about green accounting, and the true cost of the choices that we make as a society. Unfortunately we are not yet at a point of looking realistically at this stuff. Alas, our choices now are to bite the bullet or to let the wilting of the ‘glades continue (I’m looking at you, piss-on-the-UDB Miami-Dade commission). I hope we choose right and make Marjory proud. Anywho, I stopped by last weekend and got this photo.
Wednesday November 14, 2007
The restoration of the Everglades is way behind schedule, and faltering, mainly because federal funding has dried up. The only presidential candidate to mention the Everglades has been Fred Thompson, and that was to say he might allow oil drilling there. Meanwhile, Central Florida farmers just missed their first phosphorus reduction target in 11 years. (via TM)
Tuesday July 31, 2007
“It appears that males seek females in the spring by following scent trails, so park biologists, along with other scientists, are testing whether females — with radio transmitters inserted into their body cavities — can serve as ‘Judas snakes,’ a living lure for mate-seeking males.” — The New York Times on fighting the growing Python infestation in the Everglades.
Whoa: just learned that today is the last day to comment on the new Everglades National Park’s General Management Plan before it’s finalized. From Greener Miami, which provides more information and gives the Sierra Club’s recommendation. My recommendation: it’s too late to catch up; if you haven’t been studying up on this it’s a little late now. Oh well.
Wednesday January 10, 2007
Jonathan visits the Aerojet rocket factory in the Everglades, where Saturn I rockets were once constructed and tested, before being barged up to Cape Canaveral. He’s got eerie photos and a good account of what happened there. An amazing bit of South Florida history.
Friday September 29, 2006
A cute, if somewhat nonsensical, ink drawing from The Everglades Invade the City, an installation by Edwin Villasmil and Elba Martínez, which runs through February 28. From the press release:
Villasmil and Martinez are artists, environmental activists and educators. For the past two years, they have researched the Everglades through our library system and documented their findings through art. The result – a fairytale world of line drawings, sculptural installations and graphic-novel style storytelling that parallels Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ River of Grass and recounts the natural, social, and cultural history of the Everglades. Their goal is to investigate the relationship between art, society and nature, and to create awareness of the need to protect our natural resources.
Call 305.375.5048 or email email@example.com for more information, ‘cause this is the closest thing to a web page about it. It’s at the West Dade Regional Library, 9445 Coral Way, way out here. Make this my default location? Oh yeah, babe.
Tuesday September 26, 2006
Greener Miami has information about the Everglades Skyway, a proposed 11 mile elevated highway which would allow the water to flow the way nature intended.
Wednesday April 12, 2006
While digging around in the Everglades, working on a filter marsh, builders came across a 2-foot jaw bone.
The bone belonged to a Giant Sloth, the sort of which regularly roamed Florida about 12,000 years ago. Now, this may not be anything too far from the ordinary, but I’d say it’s pretty damn cool. This thing was the size of an elephant – the biggest mammal ever to have walked the earth. It was one of the animals that lived in North America when humans first spread across the continent, along with saber-tooth tigers, mastodons, and whatnot. Somehow, these bones survived in the everglades muck all these thousands of years.
Researchers from the University of Florida will poke around the site a little more before it gets covered with water for the filter marsh thing (part of the much delayed, $7.8 billion Everglades Restoration Project, natch). Whatever other animal parts there may be will stay there.
For extra credit, find the site on Google Maps. Keep in mind that the site is in the Southeastern part of Hendry County, and it’s 2,000 acres, probably accessible by a road of some sort . . . go to it!