Everglades National Park (www.nps.gov/ever ) occupies an area of over 200 thousand hectares and is protected by American foresters.
Foresters, located in information centers throughout the park, will tell you how to admire wildlife, and not pollute it. Everglades National Park was founded only in 1947. It is considered an endangered national park in the United States, but the “Everglades Comprehensive Restoration Plan” suggests that steps will be taken to compensate for the damage caused by drainage and human economic activity.
For many thousands of years, day after day, the same performance staged by nature itself has been played out here. The first rays of the sun awaken Kissimmee Lake to life. Fresh water from these lakes is what nourishes the unique ecosystem. Fresh lakes, the “sources” of the Everglades, lie at the southern tip of Florida just 5 m above the water level in the Gulf of Mexico, which is 500 km from here. The water slowly makes its way to the sea, spreading out in fantastic marshes up to 80 km wide. The speed of the current is only 30 m per day, that is, the entire journey to the sea takes about 40 years. The slower the water moves, the more salts accumulate in it: partly due to evaporation, partly due to mixing of the fresh water of the Everglades with the salty waters of the Florida Gulf. The abundant vegetation in the swamps, which has given shelter to a great variety of unique species of birds and animals, ends at the seashore with a lush tangle of mangrove forest.
By the time the water from the Kissimmee Lakes enters the Gulf of Mexico, it manages to cover an area of 6000 sq. km. The Everglades is not for nothing called the largest swamp in the world.
When the Spanish conquistadors landed in the XVI century. on the shores of Florida, they managed to move inland for some few kilometers, until they got bogged down in vast, mosquito-infested swamps inhabited only by alligators, poisonous snakes and biting insects. The Spaniards were unaware that they had discovered an ecological miracle – the largest swamp in the world!
The Everglades is a typical subtropical mosaic of life forms. These swamps are home to an incredible variety of species, including 950 plant species, of which 65 are native endemics of south Florida. Scientists have found 25 species of orchids, 120 tree species and three different types of mangroves here. 36 species of animals from the fauna inhabiting the swamps are included in the Red Book, and there are some that have already disappeared forever. Rare subspecies of Mississippian alligators, Florida panthers, caimans and even manatee sea cows live out their days on our planet here.
The difficult climate of the Everglades National Park can most accurately be described as a wet prairie – meadows that remain flooded most of the year. The Everglades is full of alligators, and maybe there will be a couple of corpses. But its beauty is measured neither by fear, nor by geological features, but by the infinitely slow flapping of the wings of the blue heron of the Jurassic period, hovering over the wide expanses of an incredibly fertile land.
There are two seasons in the Everglades: the summer rainy (wet) season and the winter dry season. Winter (from December to April) is the best time to visit. The weather is moderate, pleasant, representatives of wild fauna roam around in abundance. In summer (from May to October) it is hot, stuffy, humid and there are a lot of insects. Thunderstorms often occur in the afternoon. In addition, the water overflows, and the animals disperse in search of better places.