Sunday March 27th 2022
My last full day in Everglades national park was another great weather day. The breeze out of the north kept the humidity in check and the temperature in the mid eighties. I was able to get in an extensive amount of walking today.
I have enjoyed my stay in the Flamingo area of Everglades National Park. It has a lot of trails and opportunities in a concentrated area along Florida Bay. There is also a lot of areas closed or abandon because of previous hurricanes and significant areas like the visitors center and lodge under reconstruction. That tends to make the atmosphere a little depressing.
The volume of visitors in the area never comes close to filling all of the parking spaces in the area. During the week the visitor level is very low. The marina isn’t very active and the tent camping area is only partially full. The “B” and “C” tent camping loops have been abandon since one of the past hurricanes. The roads and sites are filled with weeds and the restrooms are abandoned. The trailer area I’m in averaged nine campers most nights. The road construction in this camping area is a valid excuse for the low numbers. The concessionaire has been actively discouraging and even canceling some reservations to make room for the road work.
The reasons for the low number of visitors in the rest of the Flamingo area are more complicated. The eastern area of the park, near Miami, is very busy. The parking lots at the Royal Palm area and the Long Pine Key area were close to full. Most of those people don’t travel the extra thirty plus miles to the Flamingo area. Does a low visitor count to the Flamingo area lower the priority on funding to complete the maintenance? Do the people stay away because of the low maintenance? What is the priority for maintenance and repair at this National Park?
The wildlife doesn’t care about the state of the national park. It is readily available for viewing. I’ve had fun wandering around taking pictures of birds and crocodiles. I will be back again, but it will not be a regular winter stop. It is at the end of a long road from civilization.
Tomorrow I’m reversing the route I took ten days ago to get here. I’m returning to the Midway campground in the Big Cypress National Preserve. Tomorrow’s complication is the early checkout time here. They want you off the site by 10AM.