The Everglades: River of Grass
“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
“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 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.”
- Harry S Truman, Everglades National Park Dedication Speech, 1947
The Everglades is a subtropical marshland located in parts of Monroe, Collier, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties. Although much modified by agricultural development in central and southern Florida, the Everglades is the southern half of a large watershed arising in the vicinity of Orlando and culminating in a shallow, slow-moving flood at one time 40 miles wide and over 100 miles long, moving southward across a nearly flat, limestone shelf to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Everglades is a subtle place where earth, water, and sky blend in a low green landscape; where mere inches of elevation produce distinct changes in vegetation; and where a great wealth of birds and other wildlife find refuge. It is a treasured ecological resource, a complex and precisely ordered living mechanism.
It lies at the interface between temperate and sub-tropical America, giving a rich diversity of species, many at the limit of their ranges. The topography is so subdued that a broad sheet of water slowly flows over and through the porous limestone bedrock on its way to the sea, rather than following well-defined valleys.
About This Earth Cache
This earthcache can be found at the rest area at mile marker 35 on I-75 (Alligator Alley) in Broward County, in the heart of the Everglades. You can access the rest area from either direction on I-75, and you can leave in either direction.
The road leading to the cache location gives visitors the opportunity to take in scenic panoramic views of this unique landform, and the rest area has a detailed, interactive educational display at which you can learn a tremendous amount about this part of our world.
If you have the time for a longer visit, bring your boat and take advantage of the ramps and free parking at this facility to get a close-up view of the Everglades.
This cache was reported with the permission of the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Reporting a Find
To claim a find for this cache, study the educational display at the rest area and search for answers to the following questions. The answers may be located in any part of the display. When you’ve found them all, send your answers in email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not post the answers in your log entry.
1. Approximately how old are the Everglades?
2. Name five major bodies of water that constitute the Everglades ecosystem.
3. What are the only two seasons that the Everglades experiences?
4. Approximately how much rain water can the Everglades absorb each year?
5. Name the three species of birds depicted in the models hanging from the ceiling over the display.