The largest subtropical wetland in North America and a unique natural spectacle is a sixty-kilometer wide and only fifteen-centimeter deep river that languishes leisurely and in barely discernible motion at just one meter per hour, rather than flowing and flowing. The Everglades, consisting of Ever (endless space) and Glades (open areas with grasses and rushes) are also called grass flow. The area of the marshes extends from Lake Okeechobee in the north to the Then Thousand Islands in the south.
The swamp landscape was created by the geological nature of Florida with its specific climate. The south of Florida is composed of a slab of porous limestone. This slopes only slightly south to the Gulf of Mexico. The largest depression of this limestone plateau is Lake Okeechobee, a lake about three times the size of Lake Constance, with a surface area of about 1800 square kilometers. Since the altitude difference between Okeechobee and the Gulf of Mexico is only about five meters and the highest natural point in the national park is only 2,4 meters above sea level, the water needs about a year to arrive after 160 km in the sea.
From May to October, the lake runs over during the rainy season, which can reach up to 1200 liters per square meter of water. Because the water pressure is very low due to the low slope of the earth's surface, the water does not manage to dig a river bed and regularly flooded the land a few inches. In the dry season, the everglades then dry out and the danger of bushfires increases.
Distribution of the Everglades
In the year 1947, the Everglades were declared a national park. Since 1979 they belong to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has named them the "International Biosphere Reserve". About half of the original area of the Everglades is now used for agriculture, the other half is largely part of the national park and the adjacent nature reserves. The national park covers with the southern part only about twenty percent of the original wetlands. The only road link to the park is from Florida City via State Road SR 9336 some 60 miles to Flamingo in the southwest. In addition to the visitor center and some other small facilities in the park, the originality has been preserved. There are camping possibilities in Flamingo and in more than forty other places, but their use requires more or less intensive mosquito repellent depending on the season.
On the developed paths in the park you can observe the breathtaking nature and great variety of animals far away from any civilization hectic. Particularly well-known for the animal wealth is the Shark Valley. Alligators, cormorants, herons, anhingas, fish and turtles can be seen up close from this trail.