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The historic Everglades bids farewell to one of its great champions and all-around outdoorsmen with the passing of Tom Shirley, 83.

For 30 years Tom was the law of the Glades as a lieutenant with the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, now the FWC, and he was an outspoken opponent of the ceaseless over-drainage and ruination of much marshlands he knew so well.

Nick Wiley, FWC executive director, commented that "In today's fast paced world of electronic communication, we seem to lose touch with the history that shaped our world. Tom was clearly one of those colorful figures who made a difference."

Personally, I won't forget Tom taking me airboating in the sawgrass back in the '70s and instilling in me a respect for that backcountry with his enthusiasm and good humor.

Tom wrote a superb book about his experiences and observations, titled "Everglades Patrol." I'd strongly encourage all of you to read it and soak up the Glades flavor as well as his compelling conservation insights. It's available from University Press of Florida. The book is a valuable legacy.

In an overview, the publisher says of the book:

“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 Hunters, 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.


  • FloridaODFloridaOD Posts: 3,880 Captain
    I recall meeting Tom during a Florida Wildlife Federation meeting long ago.Folks like Tom you just never forget.

    There was great collaboration, outreach between folks like Tom Shirley and Art Marshall.
    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
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