In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Everglades National Park and its partners proudly hosted the Everglades Wilderness Writing Expedition! This program engaged 10 aspiring writers and journalists, ages 18-25, on an exploration of wilderness, self-discovery and environmental writing. These aspiring writers embarked on the journey of a lifetime to discover the beauty and complexity of the Everglades wilderness.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wilderness Day Trip #2: Proposed Wilderness and Designated Wilderness

We wanted to give them some important concepts to think about. We wanted them to understand that wilderness is not perfect. We wanted them to come start coming to their own conclusions. Our second field trip into the wilderness included a morning bike ride through proposed wilderness, followed by an afternoon wet walk into designated wilderness.

On October 18, 2014 the students of the Everglades Wilderness Writing Expedition went for a bike ride through an area called the "hole-in-the-donut". This is an area of the park that was formerly farm land and now taken over by invasive exotic tree called Brazilian Pepper. For may years the Park has been actively removing the Brazilian Pepper, restoring the land to what it was historically: Sawgrass Prairies. Through the middle of this "reclaiming wilderness" is the Old Ingrham Highway; a historic road bed that visitors often use for a nice bicycle ride in the park. There is only one problem: the area is deemed
"proposed wilderness" and technically bicycles are not allowed in proposed wilderness.This area could potentially move from a proposed status to a designated status only if this historic road is removed. The question is "Will we remove this historic road?" The students also explored the question "could this restored area be wilderness in the true sense?" Needless to say the bicycle ride with Ranger Rudy was a huge success. The students began thinking critically about what wilderness actually means to them, and by law.

During the afternoon the group met Ranger Ryan for a wet walk through the sawgrass to a beautiful cypress dome.  This was a walk through designated wilderness. With a little apprehension the group followed their fearless leader into the wet waters of the Everglades. A moment of silence in the Cypress Dome offered the students a perfect platform to write about their experience thus far.

Entry By: Ranger Sabrina

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