One-sixth of Florida is ranchland. And it ranks 11th in beef cows nationally.
Surprised? So was Jennifer Pinkowski when she joined activists on a trek through Florida's cowboy country for a story at OnEarth.org. Most of Florida's ranchland, she reports, lies in the northern Everglades, stretching from Orlando south to Big Cypress National Preserve. The same area is also home to much of Florida's wildlife, including the Florida panther, the black bear, bald eagle, and others.
The activists made a 1,000-mile trek from the Everglades to the Georgia border. Pinkowski joined them for 15 miles on day 47, when, after battling 30-mile-per-hour winds on Lake Kissimmee, she had to be pulled ashore by a rescue skiff. Nevertheless, she stayed with the activists long enough to tell a story that offers us some hope that Florida's ranches and wildlife might find a way to peacefully coexist.