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A Lush Photo Tour of the Florida Everglades

Photographer Ryan Walker goes deep in the Florida Everglades, where highway noise gives way to heron calls and gator growls.

Ranger Kimberly Oppen; Shark Valley observation tower; brackish water; Tommy Owen

Clockwise from top left: Ranger Kimberly Oppen. The National Park Service has presided over the Everglades since 1947; the park’s Shark Valley observation tower is out of sight; brackish water runs through the 607,000 hectares of protected land; Tommy Owen’s traditional pole boat tours take you into domes of cypress trees where shallow waters teem with wildlife.

In the mangroves, canals and marshes of Everglades National Park, GPS is no match for the mental maps of locals. Located just over 130 kilometres from bustling Miami, these protected wetlands are open to exploration by water and land. Make charming Everglades City your base, or swap your beachside stay with the swamp for a day.

Alligator; Rod & Gun Club; Tamiami Trail; Ashlyn Goff

Clockwise from top left: See ya later, alligator: These toothy reptiles can grow to be five metres long; an employee fixes a truck outside the Rod & Gun Club, a historic Everglades City hotel and restaurant that reopened after being severely damaged during the 2017 hurricane; along the Tamiami Trail, a shack cleared of trees and fast-growing brush recalls a time when outlaws and bootleggers navigated the snaking waterways where hermits lived alongside alligators; Ashlyn Goff, shortstop for the Everglades City Gators high school team.

The park is home to 1,000 species of seed-bearing plants and 120 species of trees. Despite human and natural threats, the irrepressible flora continues to take over the wetlands; a year after hurricane Irma tore through the area, Everglades residents are proving just as resilient.

Papaya stalk; crab plate; Gary Grenier; waves

Clockwise from top left: Stalk-still papayas; a twist of lemon will do in a pinch: Florida stone crabs can regrow their claws once they are returned to the ocean; airboat captain and New England native Gary Grenier shows his roots in fisherman’s boots.

The creation of Everglades National Park transformed the area’s economy from fishing and hunting to tourism - at least 1 million people visit every year.

Tags

EVERGLADES     FLORIDA     PHOTOGRAPHY     UNITED STATES