Theme Week Miami – Biscayne National Park

24 April 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Miami / South Florida, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks Reading Time:  15 minutes

© National Park Service Digital Image Archives

© National Park Service Digital Image Archives

Biscayne National Park is a U.S. National Park located in southern Florida, south of Miami. The park preserves Biscayne Bay and its offshore barrier reefs. Ninety-five percent of the park is water, and the shore of the bay is the location of an extensive mangrove forest. The park covers 172,971 acres (69,999 ha) and includes Elliott Key, the park’s largest island and first of the true Florida Keys, formed from fossilized coral reef. The islands farther north in the park are transitional islands of coral and sand. The offshore portion of the park includes the northernmost region of the Florida Reef, one of the largest coral reefs in the world. Biscayne National Park protects four distinct ecosystems: the shoreline mangrove swamp, the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay, the coral limestone keys and the offshore Florida Reef. The shoreline swamps of the mainland and island margins provide a nursery for larval and juvenile fish, molluscs and crustaceans. The bay waters harbor immature and adult fish, seagrass beds, sponges, soft corals, and manatees. The keys are covered with tropical vegetation including endangered cacti and palms, and their beaches provide nesting grounds for endangered sea turtles. Offshore reefs and waters harbor more than 200 species of fish, pelagic birds, whales and hard corals. Sixteen endangered species including Schaus’ swallowtail butterflies, smalltooth sawfish, manatees, and green and hawksbill sea turtles may be observed in the park. Biscayne also has a small population of threatened American crocodiles and a few American alligators.   read more…

The Florida Keys

13 July 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Environment, Miami / South Florida, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks Reading Time:  15 minutes

Fort Jefferson - Dry Tortugas © U.S. National Park Service

Fort Jefferson – Dry Tortugas © U.S. National Park Service

The Florida Keys are an archipelago of 4500 islands in the southeast United States. They begin at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry Tortugas. The islands lie along the Florida Straits, dividing the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Gulf of Mexico to the west, and defining one edge of Florida Bay. At the nearest point, the southern tip of Key West is just 90 miles (140 km) from Cuba. The Florida Keys are between about 23.5 and 25.5 degrees North latitude, in the subtropics. The climate of the Keys however, is defined as tropical according to Köppen climate classification. More than 95 percent of the land area lies in Monroe County, but a small portion extends northeast into Miami-Dade County, primarily in the city of Islandia, Florida. The total land area is 137.3 square miles (356 km2). As of the 2000 census the population was 79,535, with an average density of 579.27 per square mile (223.66 /km2), although much of the population is concentrated in a few areas of much higher density, such as the city of Key West, which has 32% of the entire population of the Keys. The city of Key West is the county seat of Monroe County. The county consists of a section on the mainland which is almost entirely in Everglades National Park, and the Keys islands from Key Largo to the Dry Tortugas.   read more…

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