I celebrated by attending the anniversary events in Everglades City which consisted of a reception complete with what I will assume was fried alligator, hog testicles and refreshments, followed by politicians and park administrators thanking each other for attending, septuagenarians trying to remember if they were or were not at the dedication ceremony in 1947 and back to back to back airings of the classic 1962 tv show Everglades! The exclamation point is part of the title and not a symbol of my exuberance. Having said that I may have neglected a period at the end of the last sentence.
I was by far the youngest person in the crowd of 40+ people. In 1947 a reported 5000-10,000 honored the parks inauguration and in 1997 several hundred returned for the 50th anniversary, including Al Gore who read Truman's dedication speech.
It seemed fitting that the turn out tonight was less than that of a Krispy Kreme Grand Opening. It's one of the least visited National Parks presumably because it has no glaciers, 350 foot trees, 1000 foot waterfalls or a pressurized steam vent that blows fart-smelling water out of the ground.
I love the Everglades and I love the park. It's just hard to know what gift to pick for a 60th anniversary. $20 billion would be nice. Congress recently overrode Bush's veto of the latest Water Act that would see billions of federal dollars finally help languishing Everglades projects.
A new aquifer might be thoughtful considering the last one is nearly depleted and where salt water doesn't come out of the taps, air does. (The picture above was taken today. This should be under 2 feet of water.)
Maybe a crash in the housing market and a stop to the rampant development? What are the chances that will happen? It's happening? Fantastic. I'll go halvsies.
Park Superintendent Dan Kimball encouraged hopefulness this evening. But we need to stop developing in the Everglades. We need to get Big Sugar out. We need to remove as much of the flood control devices as possible. We need to clean up the pesticides, ag runoff and other pollutants and we need to conserve the water. If you live in or travel to Florida - it's partly your responsibility to figure out how. If you don't live in Florida and don't travel here, you need to be supportive of the federal dollars that are spent on the "world's largest wetlend restoration project". The Everglades and all of her plants and wildlife deserve it.
I might be around for the 100th anniversary and I hope the park will be too.