Gladesmen: Gator Hunters, Moonshiners and Skiffers

Few people today can claim a living memory of Florida's frontier Everglades. Glen Simmons, who has hunted alligators, camped on hammock-covered islands, and poled his skiff through the mangrove swamps of the Glades since the 1920s, is one who can. Together with Laura Ogden, he tells the story of back-country life in the southern Everglades from his youth until the establishment of the Everglades National Park in 1947. By necessity, the gladesmen understood the natural features of the Everglades ecosystem. They observed the seasonal fluctuations of wildlife, fire, and water levels. Their knowledge of the mostly unmapped labyrinth of grassy water enabled them to serve as guides for visiting naturalists and scientists. Simmons reconstructs this world, providing not only fascinating stories of individual personalities, places, and events, but an account that is accurate, both scientifically and historically, of one of the least known and longest surviving portions of the American frontier.