Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wind Across the Everglades


I saw that today marks the sale of Florida by Spain to the US in 1819, although I believe Britain controlled much of South Florida.  One of the recent books on the Sunshine State is Michael Grunwald's The Swamp, which charts the tumultuous history of the Everglades and the last ditch effort to seal a deal to restore the national treasure before the Clinton administration folded its tents.  There were some unlikely allies in this battle,

Elections, Mr. Grunwald points out, tend to be very good for the Everglades. In 2000, the $8 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was making its way through Congress. It passed because E. Clay Shaw Jr., the 10-term Republican congressman from Fort Lauderdale, found himself in a tight race, and the Republicans held a razor-thin majority in the House. The speaker, J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, threw his full weight behind the plan. "We knew this could come down to two seats, and if that meant we had to spend $8 billion for Mr. Shaw, that's what we were going to do," an aide to Mr. Hastert recalled. 

The Everglades has long captured my imagination ever since seeing Wind Across the Everglades.

19 comments:

  1. I just watched the clip. That's quite the film! Nice way to start a stormy Montana morning.

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  2. I visited the Everglades many years ago, taking a rental bike down to one of the lookouts. The ranger smiled and said watch out for alligators. They literally lined the narrow asphalt road all the way to the lookout, but didn't budge an inch. Thank goodness!

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  3. A couple good Florida reads are Gloria Jahoda's The Other Florida, which takes in the panhandle, and A Flash of Green by John D. McDonald, which as I remember takes in the Sarasota area.

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  4. I have been up close to some pretty formidable wildlife -- like a grizzly once -- but don't know how I would handle alligators. Probably wouldn't. I've been to the Keys a few times but I do want to visit the everglades at some point.

    Books about Florida that I like are, believe it or not, the Orchid Thief, which I thought was amazing (even though I dislike the writer generally). Also thought the book on the fawn was very sweet when I read it years ago -- it's a famous book but I can't remember the title at the moment. I think she was a Max Perkins' writer.

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  5. The Yearling. It was also made into a very good movie, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPQNQlMvrEs.

    The "Cracker" life is very interesting, http://www.upf.com/book.asp?id=CLAIRS05. They also had a style of building that was unique to the region. One of my architecture professors was a big fan of "Cracker houses," including the one Rawlings lived in, which we visited, http://www.floridastateparks.org/marjoriekinnanrawlings/.

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  6. Beautiful house. I could live there and write books. The movie I was thinking about was this one, about the writing of the Yearling and her relationship with her editor -- I should try to watch that again:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085380/

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  7. I remember Cross Creek. I was at UF at the time, and they filmed much of it in Micanopy, about 10 miles South of Gainesville, as well as the Rawlings house.

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  8. Wind across the Everglades is a beautiful film written by Budd Schulberg with Chris Plummer and Burl Ives but it seems to be tied up in endless litigation.It's on TV rarely and doesn't seem to be available on DVD.As for the Everglades my parents took us there each Easter for several years starting in 1967 on camping trips driving down the east coast from Rochester NY.The early years were before I95 was finished through much of the south and the poverty of the share cropper shacks through the Carolinas opened my eyes at 12.Our first night in Florida was always St.Augustine which I dearly loved then outside Orlando a few days whrn it was Orange and Cattle country then down to the Everglades.I fell in love with Florida then and still am.

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  9. Arvids,I loved the Orchid Thief also.An out of leftfield kind of book.

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  10. It's a magical place, bo. Not as immense, but the coastline from Port St. Joe to Cedar Key is for the most part underwater as well and makes for great canoeing and camping. It was the first time I saw wild palms.

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  11. The Orchid Thief is one of those books that really takes you by surprise. What is even more surprising is that the author seems so entirely full of herself that it's hard to imagine anyone ever getting a word in edgewise with her. Not quite sure how she does it, but that book is amazing.

    I loved the movie, too, which is one of those rare cases where the movie is as good as the book -- albeit in another out of left field sort of way.

    I have a little camper van now so someday will try to do some exploring down there. Sounds like my kind of place.

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  12. Nice to see Calvin Coolidge did something positive in signing the bill that created Grand Teton National Park.

    Nice to see that the Everglades is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1979). I was surprised it took so long to make it into a National Park (1947) given TR's strong interest in Florida wildlife, but I suppose real estate schemers like Napoleon Bonaparte Broward blocked earlier attempts.

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  13. Even better was that Rockefeller donated a huge swath of connecting land that serves as wildlife habitat. We don't have billionaires who do that anymore. Forbes sold his great cattle ranch to some cult that cut the land into parcels and sold it to members to build bomb shelters. That's one of the biggest reasons the Park still has so much trouble with bison -- they want to wander onto CUT land (ironically the name of the church).

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  14. Here's an interesting overview of Rockefeller's involvement -- the more things change the more they stay the same:

    www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/creation.pdf

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  15. Thanks for the link, av. They don't make billionaires like they used to, although current billionaires like Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Warren Buffett and T Boone Pickens have given heavily to philanthropic causes and/or invested heavily in sustainable energy. Pickens is a big advocate of wind farms and has been promoting his Pickens Plan for energy sustainability.

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  16. I thought that was a pretty good overview of the politics, even though it appears so current. I can't imagine any large public land project getting funded these days because of the right wing cries of "freedom" etc. I think it would take a Rockefeller to make it happen, although even he had difficulties, which surprised me (thank goodness again for FDR). Although I resist the idea of private solutions on principle, it makes me appreciate the Nature Conservancy more.

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  17. You figure with private solutions there has to be a profit motive. Pickens sees wind as the energy of the future. He isn't doing it out of the goodness of his heart, but it is heartening to see big businessmen thinking renewable energy rather than promoting shale oil or nuclear plants, which is much more common. Christine Todd Whitman heads up a conservative consortium promoting nuclear energy.

    However, the Everglades restoration project is one of the rare big land projects today, with some unlikely bedfellows.

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  18. I guess that's what makes someone like Rockefeller so remarkable. For all his faults, he did use his wealth to save something for the country. He also donated a large portion of what became Acadia National Park.

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