Biscayne National Park

Within sight of downtown Miami, yet worlds away, Biscayne protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. Here too is evidence of 10,000 years of human history, from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. Outdoors enthusiasts can boat, snorkel, camp, watch wildlife or simply relax in a rocking chair gazing out over the bay.

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Biscayne’s intriguing history includes a contentious fight to stop the construction of a petrochemical plant on the Bay’s shoreline, and an equally difficult struggle to save the park’s islands from becoming the city of “Islandia.” The battle culminated on October 18, 1968, when President Lyndon Johnson signed the law establishing Biscayne National Monument. Join us as we commemorate the past, celebrate the present and envision the future of the park as we celebrate 40 years of preservation on October 17, 18 and 19, 2008.

Biscayne National Park is the ideal place to celebrate the International Year of the Reef. Snorkeling, diving, boating, fishing, camping, picnicking and superb opportunities for wildlife watching are just a few of the many activities here. From late December to May, special activities like Family Fun Fest, guided canoe tours and the Discovery Series lectures can enhance your understanding and appreciation for the largest marine park in the National Park System.

Biscayne National Park protects four primary ecosystems: the long stretch of mangrove forest along the mainland shoreline, the shallow southern portion of Biscayne Bay, the northernmost Florida Keys and a portion of the world’s third-longest living coral reef.

A Tequesta Indian man free-dives for conch from a dugout canoe. A Bahamian woman watches the sunset across a tidal creek after a hard day’s work. A ship grinds against a knife-edged reef while a violent wind howls. Wealthy industrialists gather
under a shady palm to toss horseshoes. The parade of human history in Biscayne National Park spans 10,000 years.

Although Biscayne National Park was established for its natural history, signs of people and the many ways they have used these lands and waters is everywhere. Nearly every island in the park has evidence of use by native peoples. Underwater, shipwrecks rest as silent witnesses to one violent moment in time, each holding the promise of teaching us about our collective past. Pull up a rocking chair on the front porch of the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, and you just might hear the story of how the park was established from one of the people that actually made it happen.

Dive in to discover Biscayne’s people and places. Their stories are written on the land…and water.

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