6/30/08

A Vanishing Florida





We hear alot about endangered species these days but one of the most endangered is the oyster fisherman of the Apalachicola Bay.

I just got home from a few days in a remarkable part of our country. Apalachicola Bay sits about 75 miles SE of Panama City and 90 miles SW of Talahasee Fla. but for all practical purposes it could be a million miles from nowhere. For sure the wealthy have built there beach houses and wreaked havoc on some of the essential dunes, but there is still a timeless quality about it and there you can still find the Florida I fondly remember as a young boy in the 60's.

Apalachicola Bay is fed by a river of the same name which originates some 800 miles north and is called the Chatahoochee. The Chatahoochee is also largly responsibe for supplying the city of Atlanta it's fresh water. Unfortunately, in our efforts to civilize and dominate our environment, the good citizens of Atlanta have made watering their lawns a more important priority than saving a little for the vital flow of fresh water to the Bay. The Apalachicola river feeds the Bay with nutrients and is essential and critical to the ecosystem of that forgotten landscape. If something isn't done now, and thankfully there are things being done now, another beautiful and unique system will be forever changed by the mad march of industrialized mankind.

My son and I fished out of our canoe (and ate what we caught), skinny dipped in the middle of the day in the Gulf of Mexico (there is just nobody out there for miles) and learned to appreciate some rugged individuals who make their living supplying our markets with fresh seafood. 90% of Florida oysters are havested in the Bay and the tecnique hasn't changed in a century. It's still done for the most part out of 16 foot boats by hand.

I am happy to get to travel to new places and understand why it is important to fight for our good mother earth. We must be different than others. We must try our damndest to not partake in the degridation. It's hard I know. But there is so much beauty left out there to fight for.

3 comments:

olga said...

Billy, so great to read your thoguhts and your adventures. Now, I know you weren't be coming to HR, but I hope to see you elsewhere soon. Stay cool.

Lenore said...

i hope there is more out there to fight for. you know i hope that every day. i hope i am not too late to make an impact...and some days, i am not so sure...but all i can do now is continue to try to work hard, and hope others do too...thanks for sharing the photos-i needed the inspiration today. Climate Change Law is more sobering than I expected...

i miss you, and i will be home sooner than you know!

Larry said...

Billy:
Awesome blog! It was great getting to meet you out in Silverton this weekend and share the trail with up to Handies, yesterday. All the best this upcoming week at HR!
-Larry