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Segment: Complete area of South Florida that Ernest Coe wanted to be a National Park

Source: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas: a tale of two women / produced by Florida International University Learning Resources for FIU/FAU Joint Center. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove, June 15, 1983.

Link to Audio: SPC950B_6

Length of Segment: 00:04:24

So that really, from then on, it was a case, then in about ‘38, I think, when the Herald had been sold by Mr. Shutts, my father, to the Knight people, to Jack Knight and the (CUT IN TAPE, JUMPS)

…There’s gonna be rain.

Rain?

Um… He probably knows.

I thought he was saying “Cheers! Cheers!  Cheers!”

Well, cheers for the rain! (laughs)

Three cheers for the rain.

Yeah.

Okay.

We have a bird, the kingbird, that we call a rain bird, because when the rain starts then he begins to sing (laughs) Oh yes, should we begin again? 

Oh yes, when the Herald was sold to the Knights, Jack Knight told the Managing Editor John Pennecamp who’d been the editor, who’d been my father’s assistant editor, and was the editor after my father died, told Pennecamp to start the state buying of the land.  You see, in order to set up a national park, somebody has to buy the land and give it to the federal government.  The federal government cannot buy land itself for the park.  So, John Pennecamp went to work to get the State of Florida to buy land to give the State, and they did.  The federal government then got the area, and it was dedicated in ‘47.  It was not the complete area that Mr. Coe, who knew more about it than anybody, wanted.  Mr. Coe wanted it to include the part of the Big Cypress just north of the trail very much more than… I don’t know if there is very much more or not, I’ve forgotten.  He wanted the Coral Reef off Key Largo to be included.  And the water courses, like Taylor River, that go into the Park from the lower Dade County.  Mr. Coe said, and he knew what he was talking about, those things must be included in the Park.  But actually, John Pennecamp and Senator Holland, who was a great help in the Senate to acquire the Park, said it couldn’t be done.  You couldn’t buy anymore of that.  I think it was political, but since then we’ve proved that Mr. Coe was right.  We had all this trouble with the Big Cypress, we’ve had all this trouble with… they did own some of the Taylor River and they sold it and I don’t know why, like stupids, because we’ve had to control that since, and they’ve made that coral reef that should be included in the park, now that’s the Pennecamp Coral Reef Park.  So that, Mr. Coe was right.  But, at any rate, it was dedicated by Senator Truman in 1947 over there in the town of Everglades, and that’s when the Park started.  And it has been a very great thing for the environment conservation work in South Florida, because we have this great National Park, which is federal property, and it must be preserved, and it has been beginning, it’s been a great help in our efforts to preserve the Everglades and all that, because we’ve got to get the water into the park as it always used to go.  It was before the establishment of the park, that the Tamiami Trail was cut in ‘28.  So even when the Park was started, because of the Tamiami Trail, it didn’t have the water that area ordinarily had.  They’re still having trouble getting adequate water to the park. 

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