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“Enjoyment of the Same: A History of Public Lands in Southwest Florida”

While many large tracts of land in Southwest Florida have been forever lost to development over the past century or so, quite a bit of it has been preserved thanks to the dedicated efforts of countless people and organizations — and the local, state, and federal elected officials who environmental advocates could convince that wetlands were valuable for their own sake.

For example, more than 70% of land in Collier County has been preserved as public land. Think Fakahatchee Strand State Park, Picayune Strand State Forest, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Big Cypress National Preserve, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, just to name a few.

We explore some of this fascinating history with the co-authors of the new book, “Enjoyment of the Same: A History of Public Lands in Southwest Florida.”


Nick Penniman is a retired newspaper publisher, and he is chair emeritus of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, a trustee emeritus of the Everglades Foundation, past chair of American Rivers, and chair emeritus of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

Franklin Adams has spent his life working to protect the Everglades. He’s a member of the National Izaak Walton League of America Hall of Fame, the Florida Wildlife Federation Hall of Fame, and a recipient of the National Wildlife Federation Special Conservation Award for a lifetime of dedication to the preservation and protection of the Big Cypress and the Everglades.