I’ve been listening to a lot of Carl Hiaasen as of late on my commutes and long drives (I love Audible). There is a very clear theme in his writing regarding the pillaging, diminishing, thievery and general douchebaggery involved in developing and over-developing Florida. He writes about the destruction of the Everglades without each book being about the destruction of the Everglades. It is really well done stuff.

I was struck today by how this over-development is pretty much the opposite thing happening where I grew up in Northern California. On my home river of the Upper Sacramento you will see abandoned homes and washed out bridge footings. You won’t see new development. There are no condos being built here… heck, there aren’t even any stoplights.

I think this sort  of reverse-development is happening in a lot of places as small towns empty and the migration to urban centers increases. While there certainly in development in sometimes sprawling suburbs, the places all those people came from shrink. There have been a couple big development booms connected with the rise of railroad travel and the rise of car travel, but those train stop or road stop towns are either gone or going.

I’m really curious to see how much wilderness is left there in Florida, how much has been bulldozed and paved over. I’m really hoping there is plenty of the wild left. If it is there, I’m hoping to see it.

I’ve certainly seen videos and photos of the beautiful side of Florida, and from a couple thousand miles away, it is easy to assume it is all like that. It is just as easy to read Hiaasen and assume it is all gone.



  1. Try Everglades National Park. Good point though.

  2. There’s still wilderness – it’s just nowhere near what it once was . . . areas near my home where we used to hunt quail/rabbits are now all subdivisions. The housing boom of the early 2000’s did quite a number on those areas, all over the state.

    The other thing is that the wilderness is not like it was; runoff from Okeechobee with fertilizer or whatever other crap is in it will turn the Caloosahatchee black at certain times of the years. Draining and diking and rerouting water flows in the Glades will never be restored.

    But, it’s still impossibly beautiful, and, like Skip said, a place like the 10k Islands or the ENP will definitely leave you feeling the wilderness. I fish in Charlotte Harbor, and there are still days where I can spend the majority of my day never seeing a building, which I consider a success!

  3. bonefishbjorn

    I’m pretty much an expert at the Everglades since I spent a couple days there when I was 10. I did fish it though, with spinning gear, a couple of mornings. Here’s what I remember…
    1. this was in the summer and the place was deserted.
    2. there were swarms, big, black swarms of mosquitoes. Impressive.
    3. I hooked a snook and fought it for a while before the line broke. I was devastated.
    4. My dad got jabbed by the spine of a catfish and I still, to this day, have not heard him curse like that.

    I’m going to see a whole other Southern Florida this trip and I’ll be out on the water and able to get in places you can’t drive to. I’m really looking forward to it.

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