The Everglades, A Wetland Needed for Survival.
Wetlands are a natural part of our earth and nature. They are a supply of fresh water and the home of many different kinds of species. Scientists are just beginning to realize their importance and it is almost too late. The nation has lost 117 million acres of wetlands, which is more than 50% of what we started with and the number is quickly rising (Peters and Reed 16).
America's population is the driving force behind the degradation of the wetlands in the United States. The population is growing by 2.6 million each year and each person needs living space, farmland, timber, and water. Because each person requires so much to live, the collective impact is enormous (Peters and Reed 16). This vast decline in the nation's natural habitat not only hurts mother earth but the human population as well.
On the southern tip of Florida lies a vast wetland full of mystery and beauty, one of nature's most diverse places in the United States. The Everglades begins with the giant 700 square mile Lake Okeechobee next to Lake Michigan which is fed by the waters of the Kissimmee Valley and a chain of lakes yet farther north. The whole region is a shallow decline that slopes southward at an average of only 2 inches per mile from the lakes to the Gulf of Mexico (Golia 12).
In 1947, President Truman declared the Everglades a National Park, making about 1/7 of the 1.4 million acres of the Everglades the 3rd largest National Park ("The Everglades/Sanibel Island"). In the past, people thought the Everglades was a quicksand-filled swamp containing man-eating alligators, slithering snakes, steamy scary jungles, and disease carrying insects. It was no until much later that the Everglades were known as a diverse wetland, very important to human life.
The Everglades is a slow moving river like no other, in the way that most rivers are narrow and deep. The Everglades is nothing like that at all, it is approximately fifty miles across and six inches deep ("Everglades, Big Cypress, Biscayne, Fort Jefferson").