In Florida, national parks have volunteers to keep parks running

Everglades National Park doesn't look anything like the photos of other parks you've seen.

click to enlarge Here's what Flamingo looks like right now, thanks to volunteers committed to Florida national parks. - Haniel Pulido
Haniel Pulido
Here's what Flamingo looks like right now, thanks to volunteers committed to Florida national parks.

There's been a lot in the news lately about how awful the national parks look right now because of the government shutdown, so we thought you'd appreciate seeing something different: a national park where local Floridians are pitching in to keep it gorgeous.

On December 22 — the first day of the temper tantrum disguised as a border crisis — The Florida National Parks Association, Guest Services, Shark Valley Tram Tours, Yankee Freedom III and the South Florida National Parks Trust all joined efforts to clean bathrooms, collect trash and staff visitor centers in Everglades National Park — and other national parks in South Florida.

click to enlarge Nope, no trash here. Florida man does pretty well when it comes to taking care of business in our national parks. - Haniel Pulido
Haniel Pulido
Nope, no trash here. Florida man does pretty well when it comes to taking care of business in our national parks.

In addition the tours in Flamingo, Shark Valley, Gulf Coast, Dry Tortugas and Biscayne Bay haven't seen any schedule disruption thanks to those volunteers.

Want to help? While it's probably not practical to volunteer if you're in the Tampa Bay area (the drive is a killer), you can donate to the South Florida National Parks Trust and they, in turn, will use the money to do things like buying toilet paper (no shit: it costs $200 per day).

"100% of all donations will support the extra cost of nonprofit operations during the shutdown," Don Finefrock with SFNPT says. Also, you can send a thank you note to park rangers to let 'em know you appreciate what they're doing. Here's the address for SFNPT — they'll deliver them all to rangers. 1390 South Dixie Highway #2203 Coral Gables, FL 33146.


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About The Author

Cathy Salustri

Cathy's portfolio includes pieces for Visit Florida, USA Today and regional and local press. In 2016, UPF published Backroads of Paradise, her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era Florida driving tours that was featured in The New York Times. Cathy speaks about Florida history for the Osher Lifelong Learning...
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