"In 1972 the Florida Department of Natural Resources established regulations on permitting requirements in Florida. They became the most stringent of any state in the U. S. But enforcement and monitoring in this large watershed region was difficult, and not a priority for some."
- Franklin Adams
This book began in an attempt to understand the origins and sources of a massive die off of Florida manatees in the Indian River Lagoon of Martin County on the east coast of Florida. There is a smaller, and genetically slightly different, population along the west coast, and the idea was to identify early steps to prevent a similar die off, particularly since the west coast had been hit hard by a 19-month red tide and blue-green algae outbreak in 2018 and 2019.
Working through the initial phase it soon became obvious that a great deal had already been written about the manatees and that state and federal wildlife managers were on top of it. In addition there were a number of nonprofit organizations intimately and directly involved. My focus for the past 20 years had been primarily on issues in southwest Florida and the Indian River lagoon was a long way away. It was time to shift gears.
While doing further research I had a conversation with Franklin Adams, who is a very large part of this book. We began to discuss how so much of Collier County—almost 70%—ended up as public lands and about how to make sure that future development was to the highest standards of land management. Adams had great experience with saving the Fakahatchee Strand and an ongoing love of the Turner River, a clear and free flowing stream
that was part of his growing up in southwest Florida. As we talked about it, I realized that not only was the Turner its own story, but also a microcosm of the sweeping paradigm shift in the late 1960s to move away from unrestrained development and into an era of appreciation for, and the saving of, natural resources.
Franklin had saved a number of files from his environmental work over the years He was a close friend of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, author of The Everglades: River of Grass, and an outspoken advocate. His insights and recollections are all in his own words set out in italics in the text of this book. Some of the information contained in the documents has never been seen the light of day, and I realized that there was a story behind the conventional history that needed to be told that does not contradict but rather amplifies and illuminates how some of the choices were made during a time when vast expanses of land were considered for public purchase, offering an extraordinarily intimate look at how decisions were made at the highest levels in the State of Florida.
My appreciation goes to Ed Carlson, retired head of Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary for his time spent in conversation and to our cartographer John Beriault who endured Hurricane Ian and persevered through
multiple revisions of his maps. To Jack Moller for providing the John Jones letters. Jeff Schlesinger of Barringer Publishing and I are now collaborating on our third book together. He is a delight to work with as is his staff in formatting and Linda Duider in enhancing the maps.
We are grateful to Clyde Butcher and his family for permission to use one of his creations as our cover and particularly appreciative of Paul Tilton, of the Clyde Butcher Gallery in Venice, for his assistance in getting the right image and best possible reproduction.
There are many books listed in the bibliography that tell stories in greater detail, and this book is intended to look at the history of public lands with less granularity. If you, as a reader, are interested in learning more search the bibliography; there are lot of good books there.
The title of this book, “Enjoyment of the Same,” is taken directly from the opening sentence of the Organic Act of 1916 that created the National Park Service and empowered it to locate and manage national parks “. . . to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and and to provide for the enjoyment of the same....”