EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, FLORIDA
Everglades is a series of wetlands and the third largest of the national parks in the lower 48 states, behind Death Valley and Yellowstone. It’s also the largest subtropical wilderness in the US. Everglades is unusual among our national parks in that it was created to protect an ecosystem. Here’s why that was seen as important. Most important breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America – those are the ones with skinny legs and their pants rolled up. Home to the largest mangrove system in the West, and home to 36 rare, protected, or endangered (and sometimes lethal) species, such as the American crocodile, the West Indian manatee, and the legendary Florida panther. It supports 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals, 50 species of reptiles. Most of South Florida’s fresh water is recharged in the park. Amazingly, the park itself protects only one fifth of the Everglades.