However, threats to the integrity of the Everglades ecosystem became a reality with the arrival of people. Many birds were hunted to the brink of extinction for their plumage. The sheet flow "river of grass" which forms the basis for the existence of the glades came under attack as Floridians began to divert the waters flowing south from Lake Okeechobee to control floods and provide water to the burgeoning population. In the early 1900's Governor Napolean Bonaparte Broward campaigned on promises to drain the wetlands. In 1909 the Everglades Drainage District completed the Miami Canal connecting Lake Okeechobee to the Miami area, and additional channeling projects were completed by the Army Corps of Engineers. A dam on the south rim of the lake itself was completed in 1930. Later, the Tamiami Trail road which runs east and west through the Everglades was completed, interrupting the flow of water to the south.
Everglades National Park is one of the largest and most well-known of America's national parks. It was also the first of America's parks to be preserved not for its scenic wonders (although these certainly exist) but because of the magnificence of its biological resources. Currently covering 1,506,539 acres, it is the third largest national park in the contiguous 48 states, smaller only than Death Valley and NationalParks.
Everglades National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
The Everglades is located on the extreme southern section of the Florida peninsula, about 20 miles east of . Although many visitors are unprepared for Everglades' attractions which are quite different the spectacular geographical characteristics of many western parks, the features are subtle but fascinating. The park encompasses sawgrass marshes, hardwood hammocks, mangrove swamps, lakes, and Florida Bay. It is know for its animal life including the famous alligators, the largest concentration of wading birds on the American continent, 14 threatened or endangered species. The park preserves one of the world's truly unique ecosystems.
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However, the Everglades has often been called the most endangered national park. Water supplies and the natural flow and cycle are still problems. Diminished flows of water from the north have increased the intrusion of salt water into the southern section of the park near the coast. The water which does flow into the park is somewhat polluted by agricultural runoff. Very high levels of mercury have been detected in the park's fish. The park is under serious stress from three major sources--the increasing domination of non-native plants, water quantity, and water quality.
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Even better, one of the most effective ways to get people involved in Florida 's Everglades is by subtly making it the setting for a novel full of murder, sex, mayhem, and lots of comedy.
Everglades National Park Wikipedia
To many people the name "Everglades" conjures up images of a deep, dark swamp. And while swamps exist in the Everglades, particularly in the Big Cypress National Preserve, most of the land area of the park is quite different from that. Very different types of land and vegetation can be found in the park, often dependent on how high the land lies and where differences of a few feet have substantial effects.