A friend of mine operates tours for Scandinavians who come to Greater Fort Lauderdale - and she always must include an Everglades excursion for her guests. I had dinner with her just the other night, in fact, and yet another Everglades airboat adventure was on her agenda for early the next morning. That's how the Everglades should be regarded by anyone who visits South Florida. It is a must-see.
Apparently, even President Obama agrees. The leader of the free world has at his disposal pretty much anywhere in ... well, the free world. He picked the Everglades for his 2015 Earth Day. This should tell you something. It surely tells me something. It tells me that the so-called River of Grass remains a natural wonder, despite development and foreign species that have threatened it. And it tells me also that the Everglades indeed is making a comeback as a result of federal conservation work over the years, work that will continue for many years more. That's an achievement for the government to rightly brag about. Greater Fort Lauderdale can do its own bragging about the Everglades, of course, with those airboat rides only a half hour drive from downtown Fort Lauderdale. I'm always amazed at how quickly I get there with out-of-town guests. The Everglades isn't far from any doorstep in Broward County. I recall taking a hot air balloon ride in Pompano Beach, floating high above this area for an amazing hour or so - and that's when something struck me. With lots of time to gaze at the horizon, I could see clearly that only a relatively narrow strip of land is occupied by humans ... and how much of the Everglades is left. This Earth Day is a good chance to recognize the spare beauty of that one-of-a-kind environment, just as our president is doing. And to make our own plans to see it for the first time or to see it again, soon.