"Biscayne Bay" by Matt Johnson , public domain

South Florida National Parks 2007-2008 Trip Planner

brochure South Florida National Parks 2007-2008 Trip Planner
National Parks of South Florida National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Biscayne, Dry Tortugas and Everglades National Parks Big Cypress National Preserve Trip Planner The official guide for planning your trip to National Park areas in South Florida. Photo Courtesy of Ralph Arwood Photo Courtesy of Don Richards Big Cypress Biscayne Dry Tortugas Planning a Trip? A visit to South Florida’s national parks and preserves can be an experience you won’t soon forget. Biscayne, Dry Tortugas, and Everglades National Parks, and Big Cypress National Preserve offer opportunities ranging from snorkeling to wildlife photography to camping on a backcountry chickee. Planning ahead is the best way to take advantage of these opportunities, and choosing what time of year to visit, based on your interests, can be the key to an enjoyable trip. Rainy Season Dry Season During the rainy season warmer, clear ocean waters make snorkeling in Biscayne and Dry Tortugas the perfect way to explore these parks. Boating and canoeing in open waters helps to avoid mosquitoes. Boat tours out of Biscayne National Park and the Gulf Coast and Flamingo areas of Everglades National Park are another way to stay cool. While some birds are drawn to the parks year round, the abundance of migrating and wintering birds makes South Florida’s National Parks a birder’s paradise during the dry season. Falling water levels within the Everglades and Big Cypress areas result in abundant wildlife concentrated in ponds and canals, providing excellent viewing opportunities. Seasonal rains bring higher water levels within Everglades and Big Cypress, causing wildlife such as alligators and wading birds to disperse and to be seen less frequently. Mosquito levels may become high, and exploring trails in some areas of the parks can become intolerable. While visiting during this season you may find daily afternoon thunderstorms, high humidity, temperatures in the mid- to hi-80s and a multitude of mosquitoes. During this time of year you will also find an array of blooming plants, views of towering storm clouds and opportunities to experience the parks with fewer visitors. Remember, during the rainy season mosquitoes may be unbearable in some areas. The dry season is the busy season in South Florida’s national parks. Most visitors to Big Cypress, Biscayne, and the Everglades come between December and March. March through May are busy months at Dry Tortugas National Park. During months of higher visitation lodging reservations are recommended and campgrounds may be busy. Larger crowds, fewer mosquitoes, greater wildlife viewing opportunities and more enjoyable hiking, camping and canoeing adventures in all the parks characterize this time of year. Finally, the parks offer a greater variety and number of ranger-led activities that provide an in-depth look into the special natural and cultural resources protected within them. Everglades Printed Winter 2007 – 08 Mont Avera Minim ge Avera Temp um ge M eratu re Te aximum mper ature h Nove m throu ber gh Ap ril May t h Octob rough er 66°F/1 9 °C 76°F/2 4°C Annu al 71°F/2 2°C Dry S Humid ity Avera Mont ge h Rainf ly all eason 76°F/2 4°C Rainy 85°F/2 9°C 81°F/2 7°C 57% Seaso 2.17” /5.5cm n 64% 5.39” /13.3c m 45.44 ”/115 .4 cm What’s Inside? Planning Your Trip . . . 2 Everglades National Park . . . 6 Park Activities . . . 2 Dry Tortugas National Park . . . 7 Safety in the Parks . . . 3 Mail Order Publications . . . 7 Big Cypress National Preserve . . . 4 Parks Map . . . Back Cover Biscayne National Park . . . 5 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Everglades National Park 40001 State Road 9336 Homestead, Florida 33034 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Planning your trip Frequently Asked Questions The National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior, was established in 1916 to manage a growing system of national parks. Today, the National Park System consists of over 390 units. National Parks, National Preserves, Seashores, Monuments, Historic Sites, Lakeshores, Battlefields, and others make up a great repository of national treasures entrusted to the National Park Service. In South Florida, nearly 2.5 million acres of pineland, prairie, tropical hardwoods, mangrove forests, estuaries and coral reefs are preserved for this and future generations. Their scientific, recreational, aesthetic and educational values are limitless. Experience Your America National Parks of South Florida Trip Planner is published as a service to park visitors through a generous donation by the Everglades Association. Are there entrance fees? No entrance fees are charged at Big Cypress National Preserve or Biscayne National Park. For cars, vans, and motorhomes, Everglades National Park charges a $10.00 fee at the Homestead and Shark Valley Entrances. Fees vary for buses (call 305-242-7700 for details). Bicyclists and people on foot pay $5.00/person. Dry Tortugas charges $5.00 per person, fees may increase this year. Entrance fees are valid for 7 days. Yearly and lifetime interagency passes are honored at entrance stations. You may purchase passes at entrance stations, or those visitor centers that accept fees. What are the hours of operation? In Everglades National Park, the road from the Coe Visitor Center to Flamingo is open 24 hours; the Shark Valley entrance is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Big Cypress National Preserve is open 24 hours. Convoy Point at Biscayne National Park is open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the rest of the park, accessible by boat only, is open 24 hours. For visitor center hours, see pages 4, 5 and 6. What about mosquitoes? Mosquitoes and a variety of biting flies are most severe during the hot, humid summer months, but can be present year-round. As an alternative to using insect repellents, you can take several actions to avoid insects: • Cover up! Wear long-sleeved clothing. A good mosquito net jacket can go a long way towards making your visit more enjoyable. Look for one that keeps the netting off your skin. • Avoid grassy areas where mosquitoes can hide. • Close doors quickly. • Where provided, stay on boardwalks and pavement. • Seek open, breezy areas. • Avoid shady places. If you use repellent, apply it sparingly to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 20% to 35% DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). DEET in high concentrations (greater than 35%) may cause side effects, particularly in children. Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children. Insect repellents should not be applied to very young children (< 3 years old). Should I be aware of certain regulations? • When observing animals or plants, pull completely off the road. Exercise caution when exiting your vehicle. • Rangers monitor speed by radar. Obey speed limits. • It is dangerous and illegal to feed or harass any wildlife. • Loaded weapons are not permitted in Everglades, Biscayne, and Dry Tortugas National Parks. In Big Cypress National Preserve, special hunting regulations apply. • Skateboards, roller skates, and personal watercraft, such as jet skis, Wave Runners, and Sea Doos are prohibited. • Pets are allowed on a leash in some areas, but not on trails or boardwalks, and must be under physical control at all times. • Spearfishing is not allowed in Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks. It is allowed in Biscayne National Park with a Florida fishing license. • Fishing regulations at Everglades National Park differ from state law, and some areas of the park are closed to fishing. Pick up your copy of Everglades fishing regulations at any visitor center or entrance station. • Each park is unique, and regulations are tailored to fit the particular park area. Check at visitor centers, entrance stations, or ask a ranger for more information. Local Visitor Information Everglades City Chamber of Commerce 239-695-3941 or 800-914-6355 Homestead/Fla. City Chamber of Commerce 305-247-2332 Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce 305-350-7700 Key Largo Chamber of Commerce 800-822-1088 Naples Chamber of Commerce 239-262-6141 Key West Welcome Center 305-294-2587 Tropical Everglades Visitor’s Association 800-388-9669 Roseate Spoonbills Feeding in Florida Bay. Park Activities Big Cypress Dry Rainy Alligator Viewing ● ● Bicycling ● Birdwatching ● Dry Rainy Dry Tortugas Dry Rainy ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Best in the Dry Season Best in the Dry Season Boat / Canoe Rentals ● ● Boat Tours ● ● ● ● ● ● For Dry Tortugas, from Key West ● ● ● ● ● ● Best in the Dry Season ● ● ● ● ● Crocodile Viewing ● Dry Ranger Tips ● ● ● Rainy Everglades ● Camping ● Biscayne Fishing ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Gift and Book Sales ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Hiking ● ● Lighthouses ● ● ● ● Manatees ● Paddling ● ● ● ● Picnicking ● ● ● ● ● Ranger Programs ● ● ● ● ● Swimming ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Buggy in the Wet Season ● ● ● ● Visitor Centers have Details ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Tram Tours Walking 2 National Parks Trip Planner ● ● ● ● Accessible By Boat Only ● ● Snorkeling/SCUBA State License Required ● ● Safety in the Parks... Warning: Wild Wildlife! Alligators, crocodiles, and other animals are wild and potentially dangerous— Keep your distance! Avoiding Poisonous Plants Poison ivy, poisonwood and manchineel are three poisonous plants that can be found in the parks and preserves of South Florida. All are poisonous to the touch. Manchineel is primarily found in the Flamingo area of Everglades National Park, and is rarely contacted. Poison ivy and poisonwood can be found in any wooded area of the parks. Avoid contact with these plants by staying on trails and not touching plants you cannot identify. Park staff can assist in recognizing these plants. ... On The Water In the area’s national parks and preserves it is easy to enjoy viewing wildlife, yet the animals are untamed. It is important that we respect animals by not crowding them. If an animal changes its behavior because of your approach, then you are too close. ... While Watching Wildlife Respecting Animal Homes Alligators, birds, turtles, bobcats. . . the South Florida parks are spectacular places to experience wildlife. In these natural environments, animals are protected and free to move and live as they wish. They remain wild, untamed, and relatively unafraid of humans. It is your responsibility to keep a safe distance from all wild animals; they can be dangerous if approached too closely. Do not feed alligators or any other wild animal; it is bad for the animal, risky for you, and illegal in a national park. If you see someone feeding or harassing wildlife, please report this to a ranger or call 305-242-7740 or #NPS on cell phones. Viewing Alligators Safely An adult alligator has powerful jaws, strong teeth, and a brain the size of a walnut. This reptile acts primarily on instinct, assessing other creatures as potential threat or prey. Avoid approaching an alligator closer than 10 feet; they can easily outrun you. Wading or swimming is prohibited in most freshwater bodies of water in the parks. Take special care with your small children and dogs; they are closer in size to an alligator's natural foods. Elevated boardwalks like the Anhinga Trail, the Shark Valley Tram Road and Observation Tower in Everglades, and the HP Williams area in Big Cypress offer good opportunities to safely view these remarkable creatures. Keeping Raccoons Healthy Raccoons can be aggressive if confronted, and may carry rabies. These animals are abundant in many areas of the South Florida parks, and are attracted to our food, water, and garbage. Unnatural food sources have led to artificially high populations of raccoons. This means that in times of low visitation (less food and garbage), there are more raccoons turning to the eggs of endangered crocodiles and sea turtles as a food source than in the past. Store food in your vehicle or a hard-sided container when camping. Identifying Snakes Twenty-six species of snakes may be found in the South Florida parks. Four of these species are venomous—the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, dusky pygmy rattlesnake, cottonmouth, and coral snake. Venomous snakes are not known to exist at the Dry Tortugas. Snakes usually shy away from people. If you see a snake, give it a wide berth. Boating Safely Boating in Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, and the Everglades backcountry can be a challenge. Much of the water is quite shallow, and you can ground your boat quickly. In addition to damaging your boat, groundings destroy precious seagrasses that provide food and shelter to creatures inhabiting these waters. Always refer to nautical charts as well as tide charts for a safe boating excursion. Additional boating safety considerations include: • Be aware of the weather and water conditions. Get up-to-date information from the National Weather Service or at area park visitor centers. • File a float plan. Be sure that a family member or friend knows where you are going and when you are planning to return. Provide them with a written description of your vessel and whom they should contact if you do not return as scheduled. • Be sure that your vessel has all safety equipment, including: Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFD), fire extinguisher, flares, noise making device and a working VHF radio. Do not depend on cellular phones. • Be sure that all passengers 6 years of age and younger wear a PFD at all times. • Alcohol is a major contributor to boating fatalities. Don’t drink and boat. Impaired boaters become impaired drivers. Manatees Manatees frequent many of the waterways in Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. Because they are slow–moving and feed in shallow water, many manatees are killed each year by boat propellers. Be especially careful in areas posted with manatee signs. If you see an injured or dead manatee, please report it to the park rangers by calling 305-242-7740 or #NPS on cell phones. What’s back there? Remember to secure items in your boat. Valuable items including fishing poles, life vests, seat cushions, coolers, and clothing often blow out of boats and are found along the park shorelines and roadways. Garbage left in boats can become flying debris. Please help keep South Florida national parks litter–free! This place is for the birds! Feeding gulls and crows human food can make them overly aggressive and annoying. When pelicans are fed fish they learn to associate humans with food. Many habituated pelicans are then caught on fish hooks while trying to steal from anglers. Discarded monofilament line entangles and kills many birds and other animals, so please dispose of it in designated fishing line recycle containers. ... On The Trails Heat Summer heat and humidity can be oppressive, but heat-related injuries can occur during any time of the year in South Florida. Be sure to drink plenty of water. Most doctors recommend drinking at least one gallon of water or electrolyte beverages per day while involved in outdoor activities. Don’t wait to drink until you feel thirsty as at that point you may already be dehydrated. Drinking sugary, alcoholic or caffeinated drinks is not recommended, water is the best bet Thunderstorms Thunderstorms occur almost daily during much of the summer, and sporadically during the rest of the year. If you hear thunder, seek cover immediately, especially if you are on the water. The safest places to be are inside a building or a vehicle. Check the local weather forecast before heading out for the day. Safe boating protects natural habitats such as seagrass beds and coral reefs, both of which are valuable to a variety of wildlife, and us. Safe boating also saves money and lives. (Sea turtle photo by Bill Keogh.) Navigating Important nautical charts for South Florida National Parks can be purchased at stores in the parks and within local communities. Charts that relate to specific parks are: Biscayne National Park NOAA Nautical Chart 11451 — Miami to Marathon and Florida Bay Dry Tortugas National Park NOAA Nautical Chart 11013 — Florida Straits 11434 — Florida Keys Sombrero Key to Dry Tortugas 11438 — Dry Tortugas Everglades National Park NOAA Nautical Chart 11430 — Lostman’s River to Wiggins Pass 11432 — Shark River to Lostman’s River 11433 — Whitewater Bay 11451 — Miami to Marathon and Florida Bay National Parks Trip Planner 3 Big Cypress National Preserve Photo Courtesy of Don Richards Established in 1974 729,000 acres Important Information Phone Toll-free 24 Hour Emergency 800-788-0511 or #NPS on cell Big Cypress Visitor Center 239-695-1201 Big Cypress ORV Information 239-695-1205 Big Cypress Hunting Information 239-695-2040 Report hunting violations immediately to 800-788-0511 Website www.nps.gov/bicy/ Water is the key here. The Preserve receives nearly 55 inches of rainfall each year, flooding the cypress strands and prairies with a shallow sheet of life-giving water. Plants and animals in Big Cypress and Everglades depend on this water for survival. It flows through the Preserve into the 10,000 Islands area along the Gulf of Mexico, delivering valuable nutrients to estuarine species like snook, shark and crab. Kirby Storter Boardwalk Located west of the Oasis Visitor Center along US 41. This elevated boardwalk takes you through prairie, dwarf cypress and into the heart Bicycling Trails suitable for mountain bicycles can be found in the northern portion of the Preserve. Check at the visitor center for details. Hiking The Florida National Scenic Trail begins in the Preserve and provides miles of hiking for the adventurer. Short trails include the Fire Prairie Trail and Tree Snail Hammock. With a GPS unit and good preparation, off-trail hiking is superb in the dry season. Check with the visitor center staff, or website, for trail information. Lodging and Dining There are local restaurants in Ochopee, Everglades City and Chokoloskee. Lodging is located in Everglades City and Chokoloskee. Visitors can join NPS staff and volunteers during canoe trips, swamp walks and other programs at Big Cypress National Preserve, and the other national park units in South Florida. Check at park visitor centers, or on park websites for details. The Preserve provides refuge for species threatened by development of this popular state. Endangered species such as Florida panthers, wood storks and red-cockaded woodpeckers can be found in the Preserve. Rare orchids, ferns and bromeliads (air plants) are found in more inaccessible areas. Humans, too, find refuge here. Clear, bright skies unlit by city lights invite stargazing. Hiking, canoeing and camping opportunities abound. With care, future generations will find refuge and a new vocabulary in Big Cypress National Preserve. What is a Preserve? Big Cypress National Preserve was authorized in 1974 and comprises 729,000 acres. It was the first national preserve established by the National Park Service. A preserve allows a broader range of pre-existing activities. Hunting, off-road vehicle use and oil drilling are allowed here and not in nearby Everglades National Park. Visitor Center Midway between Miami and Naples on the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41). Information, wildlife exhibits, and a 15-minute film. Educational sales items. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except December 25. 4 National Parks Trip Planner Ranger-conducted Activities Programs offered on a regular basis in several areas of the park. A greater number and variety of programs – including swamp walks, canoe trips, bike tours, and campfire programs – are conducted during the dry season. Consult park website or visitor center for details on dates, times and availability. Park rangers at the Preserve are available to conduct programs within local communities and on-site. Call 239695-1164 for details and arrangements. Photo Courtesy of NPS Volunteer Jan Shirey Mailing Address 33100 Tamiami Trail East Ochopee, FL 34141 Seasonal sheet flows of water from northeast to southwest across the Big Cypress Swamp carve narrow, linear valleys just inches deep into the limestone. Cypress trees grow tall in the slightly deeper water of these eroded strands. In some areas the water has eroded deep circular depressions in the limestone substrate, creating suitable soil depths for tall cypress. The shallower soil along the edge, or higher sides, of these depressions results in smaller trees. As a result, dome-shaped humps dot the horizon — cypress domes. Between the strands, clay-like marl soils form prairies lush with grasses and wildflowers. These strands, domes, and prairies, together with pinelands, hardwood islands or “hammocks,” and a fringe of mangrove forest, produce the rich diversity of habitats within Big Cypress National Preserve. of a cypress strand. Look for alligators, wading birds and a variety of migrating songbirds. Fishing/Canoeing/Kayaking Anglers can pursue freshwater fish in the canals along the Tamiami Trail, the Turner River Road and throughout the Preserve. Licenses and regulations are available in Everglades City. Turner River and Halfway Creek, as well as the Barron River Drainage, can be canoed or kayaked southward to the Everglades City area. Check at the visitor center for details about this and other canoe/kayak trips. Camping There are four small, primitive, free campgrounds within the Preserve. Campgrounds on the Loop Road are not suitable for large R.V.s. Monument Lake and Midway Campgrounds, located along U. S. Highway 41 have water and modern restroom facilities; fees are charged for use of these campgrounds. Prepare for mosquitoes and take water if using the primitive campgrounds. There is a privately owned campground in Ochopee and several nearby in Everglades City. Scenic Drives The Loop Road (county road 94), Turner River Road (county road 839), Wagonwheel Road (county road 837) and Birdon Road (county road 841) all provide excellent opportunities to get off the main highways and experience a wilder Florida. Inquire at the visitor center about current conditions of these gravel/dirt roads. Wildlife Viewing and Bird Watching Alligators, wading birds, and wild flowers are the main attractions here, seen easily from wildlife viewing platforms at Oasis and HP Williams wayside. A drive along the Turner River Road will provide ample opportunities to see these local residents, especially during the dry season. Ask the visitor center staff for the current birding hot spots. Do not feed wild animals and keep a safe distance of at least 10 feet from them. Alligators can be particularly dangerous when fed and can move much more quickly than most people think. Pets and children are particularly vulnerable; keep them out of harm’s way! Remember, no collecting is allowed and all plants and animals within the Preserve are protected. Hunting and Off-Road Vehicle Use Although permitted in the Preserve, these uses are regulated. Permits are required. Inquire at the visitor center. Biscayne National Park Known locally as a fantastic place for outdoor and water-based recreation, the park protects and preserves a nationally significant marine ecosystem with mangrove shorelines, a shallow bay, undeveloped islands, and living coral reefs. Biscayne National Park has protected this unique underwater world for over 35 years. The shoreline of Biscayne Bay is lined with a deep green forest of mangroves. These trees, with their complex system of prop roots, help stabilize the shoreline and provide shelter for animals, birds, and marine life. Their leaves become a vital part of the food chain when they fall into the waters. Lush seagrass beds found throughout Biscayne Bay help maintain the water’s clarity. The Florida spiny lobster depends on this rich habitat and the bay has been designated a sanctuary where lobsters are protected year-round. Shrimp, fish, sea turtles, and manatees also utilize these productive underwater pastures. On the eastern edge of Biscayne Bay are the northernmost Florida Keys. These protected islands, with their tropical hardwood forests, remain undeveloped and serve as reminders of the area’s past. On the Atlantic side of the islands lie the most diverse and beautiful of the underwater communities — the coral reefs. The reefs support a kaleidoscope of life. Plants, fish, and other animals abound in the full spectrum of the rainbow. The resources protected within Biscayne National Park are beautiful, diverse, and productive; they are also fragile. Fish and animals can be injured and killed by trash in the water. Seagrasses can be torn up by boats. Touching coral may open the way for disease. Some of our actions can cause great damage— forethought and care can preserve and protect. park to venture into Biscayne Bay and to explore offshore coral reefs. Stop at the visitor center for regulations and to purchase nautical charts. For any boats docked after 5:00 p.m., a $20 overnight docking fee is charged at Boca Chita and Elliott Key harbors. Canoeing/Kayaking Paddlers can explore the mangrove shoreline along the mainland. Canoes and kayaks are rented from the park concessioner. Stop by the visitor center for weather conditions and suggested routes. Dante Fascell Visitor Center Tour the park's visitor center with exhibits, videos, information and educational sales items. Open daily, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. From Florida’s Turnpike, take exit 6 (Speedway Boulevard) and follow signs. Boat Tours The park concessioner provides snorkeling, SCUBA and glass bottom boat tours of the park’s waters. Island tours are available winter through spring. Call (305) 230-1100 for schedule and required reservations. Ranger-conducted Activities Programs are offered on a regular basis in several areas of the park. A greater number and variety of programs are conducted during the dry season. Consult park website, www.nps. gov/bisc, or visitor center staff for details on dates, times, and availability. Camping Primitive campgrounds, accessible only by boat, are located on Boca Chita and Elliott Keys. Individual campsites are $15 ($20 with marina use) per night first-come, first-served. Group sites are $30 per night. To reserve a group site call 305-230-7275. All supplies must be brought in and all trash must be packed out. Prepare for insects! The park's concessioner provides transportation to Elliott Key for campers November to May — call 305-230-1100. Fishing/Boating Anglers and boaters can launch their own boats from county-operated marinas adjacent to the Attention Boaters To prevent damage to your property and to the fragile resources of the park, come prepared. • Learn how to read and use nautical charts. • Refer to your chart prior to leaving the dock. • Know the tides. Stop by any local marina or the park visitor center for the latest tide information. • Learn how to use your electronic navigation equipment and always keep a visual watch on your soundings. • Be sure that your VHF radio, and any other communication equipment is in good working order. Do not depend on cellular phone service in remote areas. • Check the marine forecast prior to leaving the dock and watch for any changes in weather. Always file a float plan. Established in 1968 as Biscayne National Monument; rededicated and enlarged as Biscayne National Park in 1980. 173,000 acres Important Information Mailing Address 9700 SW 328th St. Homestead, FL 33033–5634 Phone Toll-free 24 Hour Emergency 800-788-0511 or #NPS on cell Park Information 305-230–PARK Concession Services Biscayne National Underwater Park, Inc 305-230-1100 Website www.nps.gov/bisc/ County Marina Information www.miamidade.gov/parks/fun-marinas. asp Remember these rhymes, which have aided mariners for years: Brown, brown, run aground. Avoid brown areas! This water color indicates that reef formations or seagrass beds are close to the surface. White, white, you just might. Use caution! Sand bars and rubble areas may be much shallower than they appear. Green, green, nice and clean. Green waters are generally safe for shallow draft boats, larger, deeper draft vessels should exercise caution. Blue, blue, cruise on through. Clear sailing in deep water areas. Oh No! You ran aground, now what? Stop! Attempting to power off can cause significant damage to your vessel and to the living bottom communities. If you do run aground or if you venture into shallow water and start stirring up mud in your wake, Stop! • Turn your motor off. Do not attempt to power off. • Trim your motor up. • Try to push or pole your boat off, following the route in. • Wait for high tide in order to drift off. • Call for commercial assistance on VHF channel 16. On Boca Chita visitors can camp, picnic and glimpse the area’s history. Boaters also have the opportunity to enjoy the bay and the upper keys, Elliott and Adams Keys, within Biscayne National Park. National Parks Trip Planner 5 Everglades National Park Photo Courtesy of Ralph Arwood Everglades National Park is defined by water. Historically, a freshwater river a few feet deep and 50 miles wide crept seaward through this area on a gradually sloping riverbed. Along its 80-mile course, the river dropped only 15 feet, finally emptying into Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. There, fresh and salt water mix in coastal areas, and mangrove forest dominates. In General Established in 1947 1,508,570 acres Important Information Mailing Address 40001 State Road 9336 Homestead, FL 33034–6733 Phone Toll-free 24 Hour Emergency 800-788-0511 or #NPS on cell Park Information 305-242–7700 Flamingo Visitor Center 239-695-2945 Gulf Coast Visitor Center 239-695-3311 Shark Valley Visitor Center 305-221-8776 Key Largo Ranger Station 305-852-0304 Campground Reservations 800-365-CAMP Concession Services Everglades National Park Boat Tours and Canoe Rentals in Everglades City 239-695-2591 Flamingo Lodge, including the marina, boat tours, and rentals 239-695-3101 ext. 100 800-600-3813 Shark Valley Tram Tours 305-221-8455 Website www.nps.gov/ever/ Ranger-conducted Activities Programs offered on a regular basis in several areas of the park. Consult park website or visitor centers for details on dates, times and availability. Exploring Trails In many areas of the park trails allow you to explore the diversity of habitats within South Florida. While exploring the park be sure to bring plenty of water, be aware of changing weather conditions, and be prepared for mosquitoes and a variety of biting flies. Though most severe during the hot, humid summer months, they can be present year-round. Fishing/Boating The mangrove estuary, Gulf of Mexico, and Florida Bay provide opportunities to explore by boat and to fish. Obtain regulations at the Flamingo Visitor Center, Flamingo Marina, or Gulf Coast Visitor Center. Boat ramps are located at Flamingo, the Florida Keys, and Everglades City area. A boat launch fee (good for 7 days from date of purchase) is charged when entering the park: $5 for motorboats, $3 for non-motorized craft. An annual pass is also available. Camping National Park Service campsites (fees charged.) Long Pine Key Campground sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Flamingo Campground sites can be reserved Dec - March by calling 800-365-CAMP, otherwise, firstcome, first-served. For information about private campgrounds in Everglades City, call their Welcome Center at 239-695-3941. Wilderness Camping Most sites in the park's Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness are accessible by boat or canoe only. Permits are required for overnight camping. From November to April a permit must be obtained at the Flamingo or Gulf Coast Visitor Centers, fees apply. In summer, permits are obtained at no charge by self-registration at the Flamingo and Gulf Coast Visitor Centers and the Florida Bay Ranger Station. Ask for a copy of the Wilderness Trip Planner for information on ba

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