Author

Craig Pittman

Craig Pittman

Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. In 30 years at the Tampa Bay Times, he won numerous state and national awards for his environmental reporting. He is the author of five books, including the New York Times bestseller Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, which won a gold medal from the Florida Book Awards. His latest, published in 2020, is Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther. The Florida Heritage Book Festival recently named him a Florida Literary Legend. Craig is co-host of the "Welcome to Florida" podcast. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and children.

COMMENTARY

Piney Point threatens Tampa Bay, but other FL estuaries are in trouble, too

By: - April 6, 2021

Even if you live outside of Florida, you’ve probably heard of Tampa Bay. It’s a popular, if if somewhat vague, sports team “location.” The Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning play in Tampa, but the World Series also-ran Tampa Bay Rays play in St. Petersburg (at least for now). […]

COMMENTARY

Herbicide used in FL as a cure-all is more like a kill-all

By: - April 1, 2021

Can you imagine what life was like for Florida’s earliest occupants? Think of the unrelenting heat that led them to name so many places after Hell. Think of the rugged terrain, full of sharp-edged sawgrass and thorny thickets blocking every effort to pass. Think of how hard it was to combat all the skeeters and […]

COMMENTARY

FL legislators bigfoot local government to benefit big-money developers

By: - March 25, 2021

Florida is an exceptional state in so many ways. We’re the only state where iguanas pop up in people’s toilets. We’re the only one where the list of state park jobs includes “mermaid.” And we can boast that we’ve got not one, not two, not three, but four Bigfoots (Bigfeet?). Other states have, at best, […]

COMMENTARY

Feds said manatees weren’t endangered — now they’re dying in droves

By: - March 18, 2021

Two months ago, everybody got pretty excited when a Citrus County boat captain snapped photos showing some prankster had scraped out five letters in the algae growing on a manatee’s back. The letters spelled out the name of a certain former president now residing in Palm Beach. Amid the widespread outrage, people suggested various punishments […]

COMMENTARY

Green Swamp’s sand miners seek special treatment after their slip-up

By: - March 11, 2021

A few years ago, I went camping with my kids’ Boy Scout troop in the Green Swamp. We pitched our tents on the bank of a sparkling creek, so far from civilization that getting a cell signal proved nearly impossible. It was glorious. You wouldn’t think such a natural place existed in Central Florida, aka […]

COMMENTARY

Banning big reptiles upsets a big FL industry. Let’s upset some others

By: - March 4, 2021

The Dry Tortugas are about as far away from Florida as you can get and still be in Florida — but they’ve got a very Florida problem. We’re talking about an island group 67 miles west of Key West, one that’s entirely occupied by a national park full of birds and lush plant life. You […]

COMMENTARY

Panthers are popular on FL license plates – but the cats themselves, not so much

By: - February 25, 2021

Have you ever seen a Florida panther? They’re sleek and secretive apex predators who slip around in the twilight and full dark seeking deer and hogs to eat. They tend to avoid humans at all times – in part because we seldom do them anything but harm. This is why there are waaaay more cars […]

COMMENTARY

FL lawmakers trying to squash Key West voters’ wishes, but forget one thing

By: - February 18, 2021

You hear a lot around Presidents’ Day and other patriotic holidays about how great democracy is and how important voting is. But in Florida, when a vote doesn’t go the way big corporations like, our Legislature is ever eager to squash the voters’ wishes. Sometimes, though, in their rush to crank up the steamroller for […]

COMMENTARY

New Gulf of Mexico whale species has same old problem: Us

By: - February 11, 2021

Nearly two years ago, I stood on the edge of an enormous hole in the sand at Fort DeSoto in St. Pete Beach, trying to remember to breathe through my mouth, not my nose. This was not a contest to build the world’s biggest sandcastle. It was more interesting than that. It was a scientific […]

COMMENTARY
algae bloom

DeSantis’ budget on algae blooms offers plenty of irony

By: - February 4, 2021

If you live in Florida, you will never suffer from an irony deficiency. Just look around you. We have real estate developments with names like “The Preserve” and “Wilderness” and “Cypress Trace,” built in places where nothing natural is preserved, there is no wilderness left, and you won’t find a trace of cypress anymore. Florida’s […]

COMMENTARY

Rick Scott now acknowledges climate change, but still won’t do anything about it

By: - January 28, 2021

The first time I met Rick Scott was a few months after he became governor of Florida. Back then, it sometimes seemed his vocabulary consisted entirely of one word: Jobs! He said “jobs” in answer to everything. How’s the weather today? “Jobs!” Do you think the Buccaneers will win Sunday? “Jobs!” What’s 2+2? “Jobs!” I […]

COMMENTARY

Killing FL barge canal 50 years ago offers lessons for stopping toll roads

By: - January 21, 2021

Seeing Richard Nixon’s name popping up in news coverage of the second Trump impeachment has made me so nostalgic for my teen years, I may break out in pimples all over again. The first news event I remember is the moon landing, but the first one I really paid attention to, back when I was […]