"Offers some wonderful descriptions that I’ve never read of the richness of the wildlife before the 1950s. It's a page turner."--Jack E. Davis, author of An Everglades Providence
"This excellent book consists of two tales: one, the first-hand action adventure story of Florida game wardens airboating across the vast Everglades in pursuit of poachers; the other, observations on the political and flood-control engineering decisions and actions that resulted, sadly, in water quality and wildlife degradation. I highly recommend Everglades Patrol on both counts."--Patricia Caulfield, author and photographer of Everglades
"Offers rare insight into the dangers, thrills, and uncertainties of resource management when people and politics collide. Tom Shirley writes with sincerity and dedication about the wildlife he pledged to protect over fifty years ago."--Laura Ogden, coauthor of Gladesmen: Gator Hunter, Moonshiners, and Skiffers
"A must-read for any person truly interested in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem. Tom's book allows the reader to gain a better understanding of how important the Everglades are to sportsmen and society."--Jack Moller, officer, Florida Wildlife Federation
As law enforcement officer and game manager for the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Lt. Tom Shirley was the law in one of the last true frontiers in the nation--the Florida Everglades.
In Everglades Patrol, Shirley shares the stories from his beat--an ecosystem larger than the state of Rhode Island. His vivid narrative includes dangerous tales of hunting down rogue gladesmen and gators and airboat chases through the wetlands in search of illegal hunters and moonshiners.
During his thirty-year career (1955-1985), Shirley saw the Glades go from frontier wilderness to "ruination" at the hands of the Army Corps of Engineers. He watched as dikes cut off the water flow and controlled floods submerged islands that had supported man and animals for 3,000 years, killing much of the wildlife he was sworn to protect.
Tom Shirley is an active advocate for the protection and restoration of the Everglades wetlands to its original ecosystem and for acknowledgment of the Gladesmen's "traditional use" rights. In 1999, he received the Francis S. Taylor Outdoorsman of the Year Award for his efforts to conserve and protect the Everglades.
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"In his 30 years patrolling the Everglades, former wildlife officer Tom Shirley saw his share of panthers and poachers. But it's his tales of tangling with alligators that really gets your skin crawling….When it comes to the Everglades, few people share Shirley's knowledge and perspective." Tampa Bay Times
"A vivid account that should be in the collection of any concerned about America' wetland systems and their preservation." Midwest Book Review
"A sensitive and at times heart wrenching account of man-made floods, droughts that cause fires, stagnant retention ponds, the run-off of pollutants and deadly toxins that are by-products of intrusive agriculture which had such disastrous effects on the Everglades wetlands and wildlife he had sworn to protect." Marsh Rider
"Shirley describes the wetlands and residents' activities with a crystal-clear memory, gently inviting his readers to enter that forgotten and mysterious world." The Florida Book Review
“Packed with memories of armed confrontations long stakeouts, tough-talking characters and frantic pursuits… a reader begins to feel as if he or she is listening to Shirley spinning yarns while hunkered down at a sputtering camp fire.” Florida Historical Quarterly
“Very well written and supremely engaging, yet informative at the same time… if you are looking for a truly outstanding game warden memoir, I guarantee you will not be disappointed in this one.” The Warden's Words