Everglades National Park - Gulf Coast Visitor Center
815 Oyster Bar Lane, Everglades City, FL
Take boat tours, canoe, or kayak to enjoy the magnificent mangroves at the entrance to the Wilderness Waterway.
Phone: (239) 695-3311
This location is at the Gulf Coast visitor center at the south end of Everglades City. Right across the street from the famous Oyster House restaurant. The kiosk is at the end of the parking lot, and there are some other really nice interpretive panels nearby.
I am glad that this panel makes mention of the elusive and rare sawfish. We have them in our park, but I have never seen them. They have been fished out to the brink of extinction. It will be sad when they disappear.
(below: Mangrove islands)
When people think of the Everglades, it is usually the grass lands. They don't think of it as the endless area here of the Ten Thousand Islands; one of the most productive and important estuaries in the world. They also don't realize that people have lived here for thousands of years, living off the almost endless supply of fish and shellfish. Except today, we have impacted the Everglades so much, that we don't realize what we have done. If we could go back only 100 years, the fishing, the number of birds, and the wildlife we would see would have been amazing. But we have almost destroyed it. If the Everglades disappears, so do we. The fresh water and sea life as part of the Everglades are important for our own survival here in Florida, weather we know it or not. Even the weather patterns have changed due to the shrinking Everglades.
(below: the panel says, "A People Now Gone." My Seminole and Miccosukee friends would disagree. As my friend Mary Johns once said, "If we are still talking about them, they aren't really gone, are they?")
These ancient people build fantastic cities in the islands. Mound complexes every few miles in this area. This was one of the great American civilizations that is unfortunately almost forgotten.
(Below: Mangrove islands seen off the shore of Chokoloskee Island, from the Smallwood Store.)
The island of Chokoloskee is possibly entirely constructed by man; remnants of a shell mound complex. It means "old house" in the Seminole language. It makes me wonder what old house was there? Possibly it refers to the island as inhabited by people of the old days. I wonder if any of the stories survive of these people?