Everglades National Park, Florida, États-Unis
GPS: 25.762832997135, -80.625267936675
Visiting Everglades National Park, where the fresh water of Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River meet the salt water of Florida Bay lies, occurs within the largest subtropical area in the United States. Established in 1947, it covers over 6,000 km² of wetlands and grasslands on the southern tip of the Florida panhandle. The second largest natural lake in the United States after Lake Michigan, Okeechobee plays a vital role in the ecological balance of the Everglades. Due to its shallow depth (2.7 metres on average), the lake’s surplus water regularly overflows its basin into the Everglades through an extensive network of streams, canals, and coastal rivers.
Everglades National Park has a marine and estuarine environment that supports a variety of biological life. Its rainforests, vast cypress swamps, wetland areas and swathes of mangroves are refuges and breeding grounds for a wide variety of wildlife. The area, both on land and water, is home to a wide variety of birds and aquatic fauna from temperate and tropical environments. Long occupied by man, this region is the ancestral land of two tribes of Indians (the Tequestas fishing people and the Calusas gathering people), before the arrival of the first Spanish conquistadors at the beginning of the 16th century. By the end of the 19th century, the first large-scale canal systems were ordered to drain the swamps for agricultural use. Combined with logging, these developments helped change the hydrology of the Everglades by interrupting the natural flow of water.
The Everglades has always struggled to survive in the face of continued human pressure and the increasing effects of climate change. Despite its rich ecosystems, Everglades National Park has long been threatened by logging, increasing urbanisation, water diversion, oil drilling, levee, bridge, and road construction, hunting of crocodiles for their skins and poaching of birds for their plumage. Protection and conservation efforts have been underway for many years to ensure that the Everglades continues to provide a natural habitat for a complex and fragile biodiversity. This natural wetland area lends itself to canoeing. Canoes allow you to navigate the maze of marshes and waterways from which you can observe a multitude of animal species and explore the park’s aquatic vegetation.