A ride along the shore
Today, we took a ride on our bikes along the shore of Florida bay. Round trip about 2 miles.
The bay is the largest in Florida. It’s HUGE!
A paved path runs all the way from the campgrounds to the visitor center.
It passes the lodge/hotel that is under renovation due to hurricane damage. Interesting choice for building material.
If you looked closely, you would find that they are using shipping containers.
Warning: Short history lesson ahead and maybe a bit of a rant.
This area has been occupied by several different peoples. The earliest being natives known as the Calusa who were here for 1000s of years. They did not practice any agriculture but instead harvested from plants that grew naturally. The tribes of Calusa died off before the end of the 1700's from diseases and being killed by Europeans. They were replaced by the beginning of the 1800's by the Seminole tribes who moved deeper into the Everglades and away from the Flamingo costal area.
The area is called Flamingo because of the enormous flocks of flamingos. Hundreds of thousands of flamingos used to live in this area. Live the important word. In the 1893, a village was formed and quickly became an exporter of Plumage from Flamingos, Egrets and other birds. The "harvest" continued to increase until almost all of the birds were gone.
If wealthy people decide that an animal has something that makes them look better, then expect that animal to vanish from the planet. People with disposable income as a group are idiots at best. The poor will work to give what the wealthy want to survive. Ok don't get confused I am a capitalist, but people can be really stupid when it comes to fashion.
Today, almost NO Flamingos can be found in the Everglades. The last survey found only 147. That is insane.
The next crazy thing people did was to start digging canals to "drain" the Everglades in an attempt to grow cotton or other farming. No surprise but it failed miserably.
In 1947, the Everglades National Park was established, and some animals and plants started to recover UNTIL people brought in exotic plants and pets. The plants started intruding and replacing native plants. Pet owners (snake owners) got tired of their pets and decided to release them. As a result, there are almost no ground animals in the Everglades. No kidding, the entire time we were in the Everglades, we never saw any deer, pigs, raccoons, rabbits, mice, rats, possums or even squirrels. They are all wiped out by the Burmese Python.
The Burmese python was first found in the Everglades in 1979! It took less than 40 years for them to destroy the mammal ecosystem in the Everglades.
The rule needs to be: Don't release a pet into the wild. EVER!
Hurricanes hit the area and the Visitor center needed a complete replacement.
They hope to have the new visitor center, restaurant, and hotel open by the end of the year. Assuming another hurricane doesn’t destroy the work first.
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