Suggested Reading List
Canoeing and Kayaking Florida (Canoe and Kayak Series)
Author: Johnny Molloy, John Pearce, Elizabeth F. Carter, Lou Glaros, Doug Sphar
Description: Completely updated, Canoeing & Kayaking Florida, 2nd is the most comprehensive guide to the best of Florida's unique streams, springs, creeks, and rivers. Engaging and concise yet filled with carefully selected details vital to any successful Florida paddling adventure, Canoeing & Kayaking Florida spares readers encyclopedic fluff in favor of practical, no-nonsense information. With expanded regional maps and revised river maps, Canoeing & Kayaking Florida is simply the best and most informative Florida paddling guide available.
Florida has a lot of sand, but it also has a lot of water–and not just for drinking. It's only natural that native Floridians and transplants alike paddle and ply the waterways of this waterway-rich state. Of course, Florida's native Indians and subsequent settlers used the creeks, streams, and rivers long before the first plastic kayak or fiberglass canoe took to this watery paradise. In the early 1970s, the state of Florida established a canoe trail system, which was born out of paddlers discovering the many destinations here. For various reasons, this state-sanctioned canoe trail system lost momentum.
The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise
Author: Michael Grunwald
Description: The Everglades was once reviled as a liquid wasteland, and Americans dreamed of draining it. Now it is revered as a national treasure, and Americans have launched the largest environmental project in history to try to save it. The Swamp is the stunning story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades, the saga of man's abuse of nature in southern Florida and his unprecedented efforts to make amends. Michael Grunwald, a prize-winning national reporter for The Washington Post, takes readers on a riveting journey from the Ice Ages to the present, illuminating the natural, social and political history of one of America's most beguiling but least understood patches of land.
The Everglades was America's last frontier, a wild country long after the West was won. Grunwald chronicles how a series of visionaries tried to drain and "reclaim" it, and how Mother Nature refused to bend to their will; in the most harrowing tale, a 1928 hurricane drowned 2,500 people in the Everglades. But the Army Corps of Engineers finally tamed the beast with levees and canals, converting half the Everglades into sprawling suburbs and sugar plantations. And though the southern Everglades was preserved as a national park, it soon deteriorated into an ecological mess. The River of Grass stopped flowing, and 90 percent of its wading birds vanished.
Now America wants its swamp back. Grunwald shows how a new breed of visionaries transformed Everglades politics, producing the $8 billion rescue plan. That plan is already the blueprint for a new worldwide era of ecosystem restoration. And this book is a cautionary tale for that era. Through gripping narrative and dogged reporting, Grunwald shows how the Everglades is still threatened by the same hubris, greed and well-intentioned folly that led to its decline.
The Calusa and Their Legacy: South Florida People and Their Environments (Native Peoples, Cultures, and Places of the Southeastern United States)
Author: Darcie A Macmahon
Description: This history, rich with photographs and colorful drawings of the remarkable Calusa Indians who controlled all of south Florida when Europeans first arrived in the New World, presents a vivid picture of the luxurious natural environment that sustained the Calusa--the teeming estuaries along Florida's coasts, which have supported people for thousands of years.
The Calusa were the last native Florida Indian people to succumb to colonization, but by the mid-1700s they had disappeared entirely. This book describes the artifacts they left behind and the plants and animals that inhabited the landscape and the underwater world of their ecosystem. It also discusses their traditions that survive to the present day among modern fisherfolk and the vibrant culture of Native Americans in south Florida--the Seminole and Miccosukee peoples.
The strength of this book is its dual treatment of both culture and environment. The authors' premise is that culture affects every aspect of people's existence and that to understand a culture, one must first appreciate the environment in which it develops. By learning about both, modern citizens will be better equipped to make the right decisions for wise stewardship of the earth.
The Calusa and Their Legacy will inspire readers to value south Florida's multicultural history and ecology. It is written for a broad audience of all ages (from elementary schoolers to senior citizens) and all educational levels. It will be enjoyed by environmentalists, eco/heritage tourists, and everyone interested in understanding a sense of place in the natural world. The book's dramatic and authentic illustrations of Calusa life were created by artists working at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, where a major permanent exhibition has interpreted this story since 2002.
Gladesmen: Gator Hunters, Moonshiners, and Skiffers (Florida History and Culture)
Author: Glen Simmons, Laura Odgen
Description: Few people today can claim a living memory of Florida's frontier Everglades. Glen Simmons, who has hunted alligators, camped on hammock-covered islands, and poled his skiff through the mangrove swamps of the glades since the 1920s, is one who can. Together with Laura Ogden, he tells the story of backcountry life in the southern Everglades from his youth until the establishment of the Everglades National Park in 1947.
During the economic bust of the late '20s, when many natives turned to the land to survive, Simmons began accompanying older local men into Everglades backcountry, the inhospitable prairie of soft muck and mosquitoes, of outlaws and moonshiners, that rings the southern part of the state. As Simmons recalls life in this community with humor and nostalgia, he also documents the forgotten lifestyles of south Florida gladesmen.
By necessity, they understood the natural features of the Everglades ecosystem. They observed the seasonal fluctuations of wildlife, fire, and water levels. Their knowledge of the mostly unmapped labyrinth of grassy water enabled them to serve as guides for visiting naturalists and scientists. Simmons reconstructs this world, providing not only fascinating stories of individual personalities, places, and events, but an account that is accurate, both scientifically and historically, of one of the least known and longest surviving portions of the American frontier.
Glen Simmons has lived in the south Florida Everglades since his birth in 1916 in Homestead. In 1995 he was awarded a State of Florida Heritage Award for his unique contribution to Florida's history and folk culture. He has demonstrated and taught glades skiff building for the Florida Department of State, Bureau of Folklife, and the South Florida Historical Society; his boats are on permanent display at the Florida Folklife Museum in White Springs, Florida, and at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, Miami.