"There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth, remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them; their vast glittering openness, wider than the enormous visible round of the horizon, the racing free saltness and sweetness of their massive winds, under the dazzling blue heights of space. They are unique also in the simplicity, the diversity, the related harmony of the forms of life they enclose. The miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and of water, shining and slow-moving below, the grass and water that is the meaning and the central fact of the Everglades of Florida. It is a river of grass."

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, The Everglades: River of Grass, 1947

"The southern Florida wilderness scenery is a study in halftones, not bright, broad strokes of a full brush as is the case of most of our other national parks. There are no knife-edged mountains protruding up into the sky. There are no valleys of any kind. No glaciers exist, no gaudy canyons, no geysers, no mighty trees unless we except the few royal palms, not even a rockbound coast with the spray of ocean waves -- none of the things we are used to seeing in our parks. Instead, there are lonely distances, intricate and monotonous waterways, birds, sky, and water. To put it crudely, there is nothing (and we include the bird rookeries) in the Everglades that will make Mr. Jonnie Q. Public suck in his breath. This is not an indictment against the Everglades as a national park, because "breath sucking" is still not the thing we are striving for in preserving wilderness areas."

Daniel B. Beard, Wildlife Reconnaissance: Everglades National Park Project, 1938

"Practically without exception, areas that have been turned over to the Service as national parks have been of superlative value with existing features so outstanding that if the Service were able to merely retain the status quo, the job was a success. This will not be true of the Everglades National Park. The reasons for even considering the lower tip of Florida as a national park are 90 percent biological ones, and hence highly perishable. Primitive conditions have been changed by the hand of man, abundant wildlife resources exploited, woodland and prairie burned and reburned, water levels altered, and all the attendant, less obvious biological conditions disturbed."

Daniel B. Beard, Wildlife Reconnaissance: Everglades National Park Project, 1938

"Not often in these demanding days are we able to lay aside the problems of the time, and turn to a project whose great value lies in the enrichment of the human spirit. Today we make the achievement of another great conservation victory. We have permanently safeguarded an irreplaceable primitive area. We have assembled to dedicate to the use of all people for all time, the Everglades National Park."

President Harry S Truman, address at the Dedication of Everglades National Park, December 6, 1947

"Here are no lofty peaks seeking the sky, no mighty glaciers or rushing streams wearing away the uplifted land. Here is land, tranquil in its quiet beauty, serving not as the source of water, but as the last receiver of it. To its natural abundance we owe the spectacular plant and animal life that distinguishes this place from all others in our country."

President Harry S Truman, address at the Dedication of Everglades National Park, December 6, 1947

"Back in 1870, when only eighty-five people lived along the coast of southeastern Florida, an estimated two million wading birds inhabited the Everglades during dry seasons. During the late nineteenth century, plume-hunting reduced these birds to only several hundred thousand. This dramatic loss spurred protective laws in Florida -- and in New York, where the plumes had been shipped to millinery houses. Thus protected, the wading-bird population rebounded to near its original level. Then, in the 1940s and after, the character of the Everglades itself began to change. As South Florida grew, the Everglades shrank, its waters controlled for man's uses. By the mid-1970s, wading-bird numbers had dropped back to a few hundred thousand, about 10 percent of what it had been a century before. Biologists actively study these birds, looking for clues that might lead to stopping or even reversing the decline. As yet the only thing that is certain is that life in the Everglades is more fragile than anyone ever thought."

Jack de Golia, Everglades: The Story Behind the Scenery, 1978

"Everglades National Park is at once a limited and vast sampling of a region full of contrast.... This park, which is chiefly of biological interest, requires a different perspective on the part of the visitor."

Charles W. Tebeau, Man in the Everglades, 1968

Last updated: August 12, 2021

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