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The Congressman, The Sailfish And Other Stories: Event Highlights History Of Biscayne National Park

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Michal Kranz
/
WLRN
Boats glide into the open bay from the marina at the Dante Fascell Visitor Center in Biscayne National Park.

They call it "the fish that saved Biscayne."

In the 1970s, conservationists were pushing for federal legislation to protect a portion of Biscayne Bay that's home to rare coral reefs, sea turtles and wood storks. As part of their campaign, they took Pennsylvania Congressman John Saylor out on a fishing trip.

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Credit Rob Hughes / Flickr
A sailfish

"He caught a sailfish... and after he went back to Washington, they took his sailfish and they smoked the fish," says park ranger Gary Bremen. "The story is that he served the smoked fish in committee while they discussed the bill creating Biscayne National Monument."

That's just one of the stories that Bremen thinks might come up during a weekend panel discussion with some of the people who helped establish Biscayne National Park. The event is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the park's Dante Fascell Visitors Center, nine miles east of Homestead. It will include several people who have written books about the park, including 96-year-old Lloyd Miller, who Bremen says faced death threats in his campaign to protect his favorite fishing hole.

Read more: In Biscayne National Park, South Florida Communities Mix with Pristine Wildlife

Other speakers include Bremen and authors and photographers involved with an exhibit that opened in October to commemorate the park's upcoming 50th anniversary.

"There are so many hidden stories about this area that so many people don't know," Bremen said. "We invite people to come out on a beautiful full moon night... to enjoy an evening of history."