The Mountains of Florida

The Rock Reef Pass (Elevation 3 Feet) road sign in Everglades National Park is the subject of numerous witty Internet postings. Here’s one that does a pretty good job of explaining the sign’s significance. Florida is a limestone plateau, and South Florida is practically dead flat with the exception of bridges and other man-made structures. Thus, in the Everglades, minuscule elevation differentials, on the order of inches, control the flow of vast quantities of fresh water. Three feet is actually a significant height in the Everglades ecosystem.

I’m sure the Swiss are laughing at us but we have them beat in the large reptile department, so perhaps the joke is on them.

Rock Reef Pass, shown here where it crosses the main road in Everglades National Park, rises just three feet above the surrounding sawgrass savannah. The tiny height differential above the surrounding grassland supports trees and other vegetation that could not survive a few feet away. (Jonathan Gewirtz)

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