The River of Grass, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Everglades Conservation

The River of Grass, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Everglades Conservation

In 1947, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, writer and conservationist, published The Everglades: River of Grass, a book that many believe changed the course of history for Florida, igniting Everglades conservation. By highlighting the degrading quality of the ecosystem, Douglas significantly impacted the environmental history of both the state and the River of Grass. If you’re planning on visiting South Florida’s Everglades and would like to learn more about the state’s most exciting natural attraction, here’s some background information to get you started.

The River of Grass

The Florida Everglades is actually a slow moving river, 60 miles wide and over 100 miles long. It’s called the River of Grass because of the way it looks. With sawgrass marshes – cypress swamps and mangrove forests, the ‘glades is a spectacular sight. Marjory Douglas’s work made the term “River of Grass” popular and folks have been using it to describe the Everglades ever since. Families and nature enthusiasts looking to explore the area typically do so by airboat – flat-bottomed vessels that zip across the water at top speeds without harming the delicate ecosystem.

An Advocate for Conservation Across Florida

Marjory Douglas may have been the incentive for much of the present day effort at protecting and conserving the Everglades. In many ways, her writing redefined the area from a wetland swamp to a source of fresh water for not only the people of Florida but also, the wildlife. Throughout her life, she supported a wide variety of legislation designed to protect and conserve Florida’s lands. Working to pass laws that would regulate and restrict land development along coastal areas like barrier islands and beaches, she led several inspiring initiatives. Along with prominent environmental groups, she established a $90 million dollar fund specifically earmarked for buying and protecting endangered land in Dade County.

On December 6, 1947, the same year Marjory published River of Grass, President Harry Truman formally opened Everglades National Park with a discussion on preserving the Everglades in his dedication. A pivotal figure in Florida environmental issues, Marjory Douglas attended the dedication, and would later talk about how the event shaped her lifelong passion for conservation. At 79 years old, she founded the “Friends of the Everglades” where she continued to support protecting “the water” until she died in her Coconut Grove home at the age of 108.

Exploring the Florida Everglades

Families, photographers, artists and Florida residents delight in exploring the Everglades ecosystem to experience in person the unique flora and fauna that define the wetlands. The American alligator, colorful tropical birds and all kinds of amazing wildlife coexist in the shallow waters making Guided airboat tours one of the most exciting adventures in South Florida. With skilled captains to navigate, tours allow you to journey deep into the wetlands, stopping to meet and greet amazing animals along the way.

If you’re considering an airboat ride through the Florida Everglades, be sure to visit www.evergladesholidaypark.com, where every airboat tour includes a live alligator presentation performed by the one and only Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team. A family fun destination in Fort Lauderdale, Everglades Holiday Park is proud to be named a top attraction by USA Today.

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