Everglades National Park celebrates Sixtieth Anniversary
Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Today Superintendent Dan Kimball announced a week long celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Everglades National Park. On December 6, 1947, President Harry S. Truman traveled to Everglades City, Florida to dedicate Everglades National Park as the first national park set aside for its biologic uniqueness. The event represented the culmination of over a 20-year effort to create the park and was attended by 4,000 people. Those present included well known names in Florida including John D. Pennekamp, Senator Claude Pepper, Senator Spessard Holland, Governor Millard Caldwell, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Ernest F. Coe, May Mann Jennings, and Daniel Beard (the Park’s first Superintendent) along with many other governmental dignitaries and community leaders.
Everglades National Park, the third largest national park in the lower 48 states, is a vast expanse of a million and a half acres between Miami, Key Largo, and Naples. This unique subtropical wetland is the hydrologic connection between central Florida and the marine systems of Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The park provides the public an opportunity to experience wilderness, an oasis in the middle of a highly urbanized peninsula with nearly 7 million residents.
Everglades National Park is very diverse with many distinct habitats within its boundaries, including freshwater marshes, tropical hardwoods, pine rocklands, coastal prairies, mangrove estuaries, and sea grasses. These habitats support a diverse mixture of tropical and temperate plants and animals that provide foraging and breeding habitat for more than 400 species of birds and serve as a primary corridor and refuge for migratory and wintering wildlife populations. The park also includes archeological and historical resources spanning 5600 years of human history, revealing adaptations to and exploitation of this unique environment.
The park has scheduled events to commemorate 60 years of resource stewardship and visitor enjoyment with family friendly events held around the park. Events include a photo exhibit of the 58 of America’s National Parks (on display through Saturday, February 2, 2008); an opportunity to talk informally with Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and Superintendent Kimball; a bike tour of Shark Valley; special talks by those studying the cultural heritage of the park; and a rededication ceremony in Everglades City. Anniversary events conclude with a birthday party at the Royal Palm Visitor Center and a special swearing in of new junior rangers.
“I encourage everyone in the south Florida community to bring their families out to attend these events in the park and observe the vast array of habitats and wildlife species, the likes of which exist nowhere else in the world.” said Superintendent Kimball. “Please , join us in celebrating the 60th anniversary of this very special place.”
A detailed itinerary of the events follows; additional information may also be found on the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/ever/everglades-national-park-60th-anniversary.htm. Additional information about the Junior Ranger program can be found at http://www.nps.gov/ever/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm. Please note that park entrance fees will be waived at the entrance station where events are being held throughout the week.
Saturday, December 1, 2007 Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center • Homestead, Florida
10:00 – 2:00PM Everglades Film Festival
1:00 – 3:00PM Reception, “Americas Best Idea Photography Exhibit of works by Stan Jorstad”
3:00 – 3:15PM Dedication of the Mud Lake Canal – National Historic Landmark
3:15 – 4:00PM A “Conversation with Superintendent Dan Kimball & Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart”
4:00 – 4:30PM Final film of Everglades Film Festival
Sunday, December 2, 2007 Shark Valley and Homestead, Florida
10:00 and 12 Noon Shark Valley - Exhibits and talks on non-native plants and animals affecting the park.
11:00 and 1:00PM Ranger guided bicycle ride around Shark Valley loop
3:00 – 6:00PM A Cultural and Historical Perspective of Everglades National Park
The Sanctuary, Art South, 240 North Krome Avenue, Homestead, Florida
Overviews of current work by cultural resource scholars: Margo Schwadron, Ryan J. Wheeler, Laura Ogden, Jessica Barrella, and Gregory W. Bush
Thursday, December 6, 2007 City Hall • Everglades City, Florida
Rededication of the Park, Family Film Event, and Photo Exhibit of Clyde Butcher’s Everglades Images
5:00 – 6:00PM Reception
6:00 – 6:30PM Welcome – Superintendent Kimball and Mayor Sammy Hamilton, Everglades City, Florida
Rededication of Everglades National Park
6:30 – 7:30PM “I was there when” – Discussion with Floridians present at the 1947 Dedication
7:30 – 9:00PM Family Film Event – 3 episodes of the 1960s television show, “Everglades!”
Saturday, December 8, 2007 Royal Palm Visitor Center, Homestead, Florida
Everglades National Park 60th Birthday Party
1:00 – 1:30PM Welcome – Superintendent Kimball
History of the Establishment of Royal Palm State Park – the Nucleus of Everglades National Park – Meda Jensen, local historian
1:30 – 2:00PM Everglades National Park “Then, Now, and the Future” Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett, U.S. Department of the Interior and Swearing in of new Junior Rangers
2:00 – 3:00PM Special Activities, Birthday Cake, and Refreshments
Did You Know?
In the 1800s John James Audubon noted that the sky was often darkened by the flocks of numerous birds above. Since the early 20th century, around 93% of the wading bird population has vanished. Much of the wildlife left in south Florida depends on Everglades National Park for a home.