Doug Spears
Doug Spears


Lake Okeechobee and the Florida Everglades have shrunk in size and water volume by more than 50% in the last 100 years. This natural resource, so essential to Florida’s environment, has been depleted by large scale sugar cane operations and development pressure in South Florida generally which dramatically impacts the water flow through the region. In 2004, even though tropical storms had dumped much needed rainwater all across the State, Okeechobee’s water level continued to fall exposing its shallow bottom made up of nutrient rich muck and peat. Dried by relentless sun the muck soon became tinder for large scale wildfires that poured thick black smoke which was carried by winds to the West Coast of Florida effectively shutting down normal activities for days and making the air unbreathable. At times the fire burned so intensely that it went underground creating hidden cavernous infernos that lay waiting for a careless fire fighter to step on the wrong patch of ground and plunge through. Okeechobee is dying and, unless we wake up and take heed, so will all of South Florida.




Oh …… Oh ……. Oh……..Oh Okeechobee, Okeechobee’s callin’, Okeechobee’s callin’, Okeechobee’s callin’ me down, Okeechobee’s callin’, Okeechobee, it’s an ancient and hallowed sound. Well for thousands of years the waters flowed here and spilled over her shallow sides, But where sugar is king it’s a thirsty thing so hard to satisfy, And now, Ocheechobee’s cryin’, Ocheechobee’s cryin’, Ocheechobee’s cryin’ now, Ocheechobee’s cryin’, Ocheechobee’s tears are fallin’ on bone dry ground. ‘Cause when the sawgrass stands in the path of a man who’s got progress on his mind, The dams and dikes wet the appetites that betray the hearts of all mankind, And now, Okeechobee’s dyin’, Okeechobee’s dyin’, Okeechobee’s dyin’ now, Okeechobee’s dyin’, Okeechobee, the circle of life unwound. I’m goin’ down to Okeechobee to share in that wild sunrise, Walk the ground where panthers still wander, listen for their mournful cries, Hope I hear their mournful cries, Oh …… Oh ……. Oh……..Oh Okeechobee. There’s a cloud in the east, an ominous beast, black as a sinner’s soul, The smoke burns my eyes as I realize it’s all gone out of control, And now, Okeechobee’s burnin’, Okeechobee’s burnin’, Okeechobee’s burnin’ now, Okeechobee’s burnin’, Okeechobee, the fire’s gone underground, Lord the fire’s gone underground. Oh …… Oh ……. Oh……..Oh Okeechobee, Okeechobee’s burnin’, And Okeechobee’s dyin’ cryin’, cryin’, Okeechobee’s callin’, callin’ me down, Oh Okeechobee, Oh Okeechobee.