Beginning in 1974, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, partnering with many other organizations, supported the federal government purchase of the 570,000-acre Big Cypress National Preserve on the western fringes of the Everglades.
A little further to the west, in the Big Cypress Swamp, two former hair tonic salesman, Julius and Leonard Rosen, were caught up in the Florida land speculation fever and carved out roads and canals in the area known as Golden Gate Estates. Their company, Gulf American Corporation, also developed a project along US-41 known as Southern Golden Gate Estates – an area 80-percent underwater! After their fraudulent land schemes failed, the State of Florida ultimately added Southern Golden Gate Estates to its land acquisition list in 1985.
That land acquisition process involved the identification of 17,000 landowners – a process that was originally expected to last 10 years. In 1991, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida started the initial round of offers and finished just two-and-a-half years later.
The area purchased from those landowners is now part of the Picayune State Forest.
The Environmental Policy and Advocacy team continues to advocate for funds to assist in Everglades restoration and continually encourages the purchase of additional land parcels for water storage to provide drinking water supplies for all southern Floridians.
Conservancy scientists remain actively involved in conducting baseline studies and research of various Everglades “residents” – including fish, alligators, the elusive Everglades mink and even ants! This work will help assess if the restoration, when completed, is a success.
The Everglades is a major focus for our environmental education programs delivered to local residents and students. The Dalton Discovery Center includes an Everglades exhibit with live baby alligators.
The von Arx Wildlife Hospital team treats hundred of animals from the Everglades each year.
The outlook for the Everglades is hopeful, but it will require ongoing attention. Your support will help ensure that our work continues so future generations of people and wildlife can experience this remarkable natural treasure.
1495 Smith Preserve Way Naples, Florida 34102
Monday - Sunday 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (ET)
239-262-0304 phone 239-262-0672 fax
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