GLADESMEN: The Last of the Sawgrass Cowboys is an award-winning feature-length documentary about the federal government’s ban on Florida’s iconic airboats in much of the Everglades. The measure is part of the world’s largest effort to repair a damaged ecosystem, a vast river of grass that has been ravaged by more than a century of development, pollution, and other environmental degradation. The outcome will determine the future of the region’s water supply, and its ability to withstand rising sea levels. It may also lead to the demise of the gladesmen.
For the gladesmen, the ban constitutes a war on their way of life. Airboats, they say, are their only way to access the Everglades, where for more than a century they and their relatives have hunted alligators and gigged frogs, sought peace on isolated tree islands called hammocks, and taken refuge from the ever-increasing development that has carved up the Everglades. For them, the powerful machines screaming across the sawgrass are symbols of freedom, like motorcycles, but without the need for roads. They insist they don’t harm the environment, and they’ve vowed to fight the ban.
Presented as part of our ongoing Environmental Film Series, through the partnership of the Havre de Grace Green Team and Havre de Grace Maritime Museum. All film screenings are free to the public, and are held inside the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum’s main gallery. A discussion will follow the film.