Aug 28, 2016 4:50 AM GMT
NYT: It was a fitting entry point to Dry Tortugas National Park, a remote archipelago about 100 miles north of Havana. It is among the least-visited parks in the United States National Park Service, drawing about 70,000 visitors last year, nearly a tenth of the number who visited the Grand Canyon in June alone. Whenever I mentioned that I was going there, I was met with blank stares, or envy at what was assumed to be a luxurious Caribbean getaway.
That is understandable — they are far off the beaten path. But the Dry Tortugas are significant. Their unusual location — in an eastern pocket of the Gulf of Mexico — makes them what is known as an “indicator park” for climate change. All threats are measured: warmer temperatures; the intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones; and rising sea waters, which, along with rampant development over the past 20 years, have affected the Everglades, just 100 miles away. They are home to otherworldly, intact constellations of coral reef, as well as many fish species like angelfish and blue tang.