An Ecotourist’s Guide to the Everglades & the Florida Keys, by Robert Silk. Foreword by Clyde Butscher. University Press of Florida. 216 pages. Trade paperback $16.95.
Because Robert Silk is both knowledgeable and passionate about his subject, there was a good chance that his book would be a success. Add the long years of experience that Mr. Silk has spent sharpening his craft as a writer, and the result is something like a minor masterpiece. Though written for the breed of tourist recently defined as eco-aware or eco-sensitive, Mr. Silk’s well planned and fact filled guide can be a source of knowledge, entertainment, and inspiration to anyone interested in the wide open spaces of South Florida and Southwest Florida. Together, these coast edged sections of the peninsula and the inlands that connect them are given the encompassing name “southern Florida” by Mr. Silk.
As the author helps us imaginatively discover the vast protected areas available for our relaxed exploration, he provides the context of water management and mismanagement that has led to the various restoration projects that are renewing the health of these collaborative ecosystems: the swamplands and forests of the Everglades, and the string of islands collectively known as the Florida Keys. These distinct systems depend on one another and complete one another while maintaining experiential uniqueness for the visitor.
Robert Silk selects for us the optimum times of the year for our ecotourist adventures, while letting us know that any time will do if it’s all that we have: just be ready for the extreme heat, the regular downpours, and the ferocious mosquitos if you explore during the summer months.
He prepares for us the strong points of each public site, covering national and state parks, preserves, and animal refuges, whether large, small, or almost secret. Mr. Silk also attends to the private businesses that live off and accessorize these public natural wonders: restaurants, camps, bike rentals, and rentals of small, arm-powered craft. He offers his favorites and shares which ones others favor, always providing contact information. . . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in the July 13, 2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the July 14 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda / Port Charlotte, Palm Beach Gardens / Jupiter, and Palm Beach / West Palm Beach editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Robert Silk