Biscayne National Park
Biscayne, United States
MARINE PROTECTED AREA
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Biscayne National Park is a U.S. National Park located in southern Florida, due east of Homestead. The park preserves Biscayne Bay, one of the top scuba diving areas in the United States. Ninety-five percent of the park is water. In addition, the shore of the bay is the location of an extensive mangrove forest. The park covers 207 mi² (700 km²).
Elliott Key, the park's largest island, is considered the first of the true Florida Keys being formed from fossilized coral reef, i.e. Key Largo limestone. The islands farther north in the park are transitional islands of coral and sand.
Spanish explorers found the 35-mile-long lagoon in the 16th century, but the first permanent European settlers in the Miami area did not come until the early 1800s. While a few residents lived in the area, the area remained mostly unaffected by humans until more recent years.
As modern communities continued growing in and around Miami, developers looked to South Dade for new projects. In 1961, 13 area landowners voted unanimously to create the City of Islandia on Elliott Key. But without a causeway to the island, holding elections was difficult. There was no infrastructure, and registered voters had to take a boat to vote on the island, along with another boat that carried a 1,000 pound voting machine. The Elliott Key dock would not support the machine, so a derrick was obtained to swing the machine onto the island.
Plans for Seadade, a major industrial seaport, were announced in 1962. SeaDade, supported by billionaire shipping magnate Daniel K. Ludwig, would have located an oil refinery on the bay. In addition to the physical structures, it would have been necessary to dredge a 40-foot-deep channel through the bay for large ships to access the refinery. The channel would have also required cutting through the coral reef to get to the deep water.
Many locals supported SeaDade because it would have created additional jobs, but a group of early environmentalists thought the costs were too high. They fought against development of the bay and formed the Safe Progress Association. They had a different plan to halt development; to create a national park covered by water, protecting not only the islands but the bay to the west and the reef to the east as well.
Islandia, supported by land owners, would have connected the northern Florida Keys - from Key Biscayne to Key Largo – with bridges and created new islands using the fill from the SeaDade channel. Although Ludwig backed out due to the tide of opposition, Islandia’s supporters did not give up as easily. In 1968, when it appeared the area was about to become a national monument, Islandia supporters bulldozed a highway six-lanes wide right down the center of the island, destroying the forest for seven miles. Islandia officials called it Elliott Key Boulevard, but called it Spite Highway privately. It was hoped that since there was so much environmental damage, no one would want it for a national monument. Park proponents were not deterred. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill on October 18, 1968.
Before long, the forest grew back. Today, the only significant hiking trail on Elliott Key follows the path of Elliott Key Boulevard. Twelve years after President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill creating Biscayne National Monument, the boundaries were expanded and the area was redesignated a national park.
Islandia never became a city, but it still exists today, but only on paper. There is no functioning government, and only the Miami-Dade County Commission can "de-corporate" a city, and that has yet to happen.
The major attraction of the park is fishing the inshore and offshore waters. Scuba diving or snorkeling on the coral reef ecosystems that are found east of the barrier islands is also a very popular attraction. Other attractions include: canoeing, kayaking, sailing, or cruising the expanse of open waters within the park and camping on Elliot Key or Boca Chita. Limited services are offered by the Park's concessionaire, so the majority of visitors enter the Park via Black Point or Bayfront boat ramps and explore the area on their own private boats.
On April 30 and May 1, the park completed an 'All Taxa, 24-hr BioBlitz'. During this event, 810 species were identified.
Invasive species The national park has confirmed the presence of the lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) within the park. Park divers were able to capture one recently. The lionfish is a tropical species from the Indian-Pacific Ocean area. It is known for its voracious appetite and its ability to establish itself in new waters, rapidly replacing other species. It is believed that the introduction of this species occurred during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Sightings in Biscayne Bay at that time, traced the fish back to home aquariums that were destroyed during the Hurricane.
Most of the park is water
The ornamental lighthouse at Boca Chita Key
Biscayne National Park • Dry Tortugas National Park • Everglades National Park
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument • Fort Matanzas National Monument • De Soto National Memorial • Fort Caroline National Memorial
Apalachicola • Choctawhatchee • Ocala • Osceola
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary • Big Cypress National Preserve • Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve •Canaveral National Seashore • Gulf Islands National Seashore •Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve • Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve • Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Amelia Island • Anastasia • Avalon • Bahia Honda • Bald Point • Big Lagoon • Big Talbot Island • Bill Baggs Cape Florida • Bulow Creek • Caladesi Island • Camp Helen • Cayo Costa • Collier-Seminole • Curry Hammock • Delnor-Wiggins Pass • Devil's Millhopper • Don Pedro Island • Eden Gardens • Egmont Key • Falling Waters • Faver-Dykes • Florida Caverns • Fort Clinch • Fort Cooper • Fort George Island • Fort Pierce Inlet • Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou • Gasparilla Island • George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier • Highlands Hammock • Hontoon Island • Hugh Taylor Birch • John D. MacArthur Beach • John Pennekamp Coral Reef • John U. Lloyd Beach • Jonathan Dickinson • Little Talbot Island • Long Key • Lovers Key / Carl E. Johnson • Mike Roess Gold Head Branch • Navarre Beach • North Peninsula • O'Leno • Oscar Scherer • Ravine Gardens • River Bluff Picnic Site • Sebastian Inlet • Skyway Fishing Pier • St. George Island • St. Joseph Peninsula • Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center • Stump Pass Beach • Tomoka • Torreya • Windley Key Fossil Reef
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens • Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock • Lignumvitae Key • Washington Oaks State Gardens
Deer Lake • Lake Griffin • Lake June in Winter Scrub • Lake Kissimmee • Lake Louisa • Lake Manatee • Lake Talquin • Alafia River • Blackwater River • Econfina River • Guana River • Hillsborough River • Little Manatee River • Myakka River • Ochlockonee River • Silver River • Suwannee River • Blue Spring • De Leon Springs • Edward Ball Wakulla Springs • Fanning Springs • Homosassa Springs Wildlife • Ichetucknee Springs • Lafayette Blue Springs • Madison Blue Springs • Manatee Springs • Peacock Springs • Rainbow Springs • Troy Springs • Weeki Wachee Springs • Wekiwa Springs • Werner-Boyce Salt Springs
Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek • Dead Lakes • Dunns Creek • Gamble Rogers Memorial • Grayton Beach • Henderson Beach • Honeymoon Island • Oleta River • Perdido Key • Ponce de Leon Springs • St. Andrews • Three Rivers
Cedar Key Museum • Constitution Convention Museum • Forest Capital Museum • John Gorrie State Museum • Ybor City Museum • The Barnacle • Bulow Plantation Ruins • Dade Battlefield • DeSoto Site • Dudley Farm • Fort Foster • Fort Mose • Fort Zachary Taylor • Gamble Plantation • Indian Key • Koreshan • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Homestead • Natural Bridge Battlefield • Olustee Battlefield • Orman House • Paynes Creek • San Marcos de Apalache • Yellow Bluff Fort • Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins • Crystal River • Lake Jackson Mounds • Letchworth Mounds • Madira Bickel Mound • Mound Key • San Pedro Underwater
Anclote Key • Cedar Key Scrub • Charlotte Harbor • Crystal River • Estero Bay • Fakahatchee Strand • Grassy Lake • Hal Scott • Kissimmee Prairie • Lower Wekiva River • Paynes Prairie • Pumpkin Hill Creek • River Rise • Rock Springs Run • San Felasco Hammock • Savannas • Seabranch • St. Lucie Inlet • St. Sebastian River • Tarkiln Bayou • Topsail Hill • Tosohatchee • Waccasassa Bay • Yellow River Marsh
Gainesville-Hawthorne • General James A. Van Fleet • Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad Trail • Withlacoochee
Belmore • Big Shoals Public Lands • Blackwater River • Carl Duval Moore • Cary • Cottage Hill • Deep Creek • Etoniah Creek • Four Creeks • Goethe • Holopaw • Indian Lake • Jennings • John Bethea • Lake George • Lake Talquin • Lake Wales Ridge • Little Big Econ • Matanzas • Myakka • Okaloacoochee Slough • Picayune Strand • Pine Log • Point Washington • Ralph E. Simmons Memorial • Ross Prairie • Seminole • Tate's Hell • Tiger Bay • Twin Rivers • Wakulla • Watson Island • Welaka • Withlacoochee
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