Discover Florida: Shark Valley

25 01 2009

evg-51

Shark Valley is one of the most popular attractions in one of America’s most visited national parks. Located right off Tamiami Trail near the Miami-Dade/Collier line, the entrance to Shark Valley is separated from the rest of Everglades National Park by 36 miles.

Shark Valley’s main trail is unique. Alligators by the dozen lie on the trail as humans walk up and down checking out the scenes. These Gators have lost their fear of humans by virtue of interacting so much with tourists and visitors. However, only one fatality ever occurred between an Alligator and a human at the complex and that was many moons ago. Nature co-exists with human visitors as naturally as it possibly can at Shark Valley.

Tram tours are offered which visitors on board the open air tour on a track which is limited  and the wildlife inhabiting it.  At the midway point of the trip, explorers have the opportunity to stroll up the spiral ramp way and platform of the Shark Valley observation tower, allowing a panoramic view of the heart of the Everglades.

observation-tower


In addition to alligators and wading birds, Turtles, Fish, Deer, Raccoons, and other wildlife can all be seen from the Observation Tower.  From the tower you can also get the best possible look at the Shark River Slough. The Observation Tower can be reached also by hiking on the walking trail. The River is a distributor of fresh water into Florida Bay, and it’s health is critical for the entire Everglades ecosystem to function normally.

The building of Tamiami Trail in the 1920s ruined the natural water flow of the Everglades and the Shark Valley Slough. This in turn contributed to the destruction of fisheries and estuaries in Florida Bay. The combination of pollution, and development has prevented the Bay from getting natural freshwater runoff for decades now.  As a solution an elevated stretch of Tamiami Trail through the Shark Valley River Slough has been proposed. An artist rendering of the proposed Everglades Skyway is below.

everglades-skyway

Shark Valley as mentioned above is part of Everglades National Park and the admission fee gives you access to all of the Park.


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4 responses

25 01 2009
Beth

Loved it when we went to visit. The experience of walking among the alligators was just amazing, but I think my favorite part was learning why there are no mosquitoes in the park and wishing we could recreate that, especially in developing countries where malaria is so prevalent.

14 07 2009
Big Al

Many who travel and explore are so accustomed to the awesome vistas and panoramic views the Planet Earth offers–that the Everglades can understandably be envisioned as a vast wasteland,and not worth your time for a visit. But take a good look folks at this scientists’ and photographers’ haven for the “amazing”…there is only one Everglades!!!

From the squishy periphyton to the majestic Great Blue Heron, to the hundreds of plant species, and lest we forget the Lord of the Everglades–the alligator…there is so much we need to see in the ‘Glades! Calling all stewards and wanna-bes:

Check out the Everglades Plan web site (CERP). Lewis & Clark would not have been dissapointed, nor will you.

Peace.

3 10 2009
naomi

oh shit

28 05 2012
George

Shark River Valley is a “must see” to understand Florida. The birds and animals you will see are amazing. Unfortunately, as a cost-saving measure, National Park Service guides have been replaced with less well trained private guides, who simply do not have the knowledge, enthusiasm, or basic education of the NPS people.
The experience has been cheapened by this poor move, but the park remains a jewel. Too bad nobody is there who can explain the importance of the Everglades……but perhaps that’s part of the plan.

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