A Beginning for the Park

Happy Birthday Everglades National Park

Did you know?

Everglades National Park celebrates it's birthday on
December 6th.

How old is Everglades National Park?

Before there was an Everglades National Park there was Everglades, the ecosystem. This Everglades has been around for 5,000 years!

The original Everglades used to reach all the way from the Orlando area to Florida Bay.

It was a big wilderness of wetlands containing sawgrass marshes, freshwater sloughs, mangrove swamps, pine rocklands and hardwood hammocks.

So how did Everglades become a National Park?

Ranger Hat

On December 6th, 1947, the government set aside 1.5 million acres of protected land (a small fraction of its original size) as Everglades National Park.

It did not happen overnight. In fact, it took many years and was a slow process. Over time, many people saw the importance of protecting such a unique and beautiful ecosystem and worked together to create this park.

Here are two very important people who helped establish Everglades National Park:

  • Ernest F. Coe
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Ernest Francis Coe

Ernest F. Coe was very important to our park's history.

Mr. Coe was a landscape architect who loved the outdoors. The Everglades fascinated him.

Since it was of particular interest to him, he made it his life's goal to protect the Everglades by setting up a national park.

To reach this goal, he created an association (kind of like a club with members) in 1928 to work on making the Everglades a national park. This association was called the Tropical Everglades National Park Association. Later, it was renamed as Everglades National Park Association.

In 1934, Congress was persuaded by all the members of the association to designate Everglades as a national park. However, they had to come up with both the land and the funding needed for the park. That took another 13 years to acquire before Everglades officially became a national park in 1947.

To learn more about Coe's work visit the
Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, Everglades National Park's main visitor center named in his honor.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Have you ever heard the Everglades referred to as a river of grass?

Well, you can thank
Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a former journalist for The Miami Herald newspaper, for giving it that name.

It was this name she used for her book, Everglades: River of Grass, which was published in 1947 the exact same year that the Everglades became a national park.

At that time, many people saw the Everglades as a "worthless swamp". Her book helped convince people that the Everglades was a special place worth preserving. She spent much of her life working for Everglades restoration and she lived to be 108 years old!


To return to the main Welcome page click on
Learning about the Everglades.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, FL 33034-6733


305 242-7700

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