The U.S. Postal Service issued two new stamps designed to be used as postage for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express flat-rate envelopes: a Florida Everglades stamp denominated at $9.65 and a Great Smoky Mountains stamp denominated at $28.75. The stamps were issued in Homestead, FL, and Gatlinburg, TN, respectively.
Florida Everglades stamp
Spanning some 2 million acres in southern Florida, from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay, the Everglades is one of the largest wetlands in the world and the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America. The water that flows through this vast region laces together a mosaic of distinct habitats that provide vital refuge for numerous threatened and endangered species.
The art for this Priority Mail stamp shows an iconic sawgrass marsh as seen at sunset from the edge of a cypress dome. In the foreground, a stand of mature bald cypress trees shelters a great egret in flight and a great blue heron patiently awaiting its prey. Nearby, a half-submerged American alligator — a keystone species in the Everglades — glides through the shallow, slow-moving water into the shade of the dome. In the background, the marsh meanders toward the horizon, dotted with tree islands, as roseate spoonbills and other waterbirds fly overhead.
Today much of the Everglades is protected within Everglades National Park, the first U.S. national park established for its biodiversity. Proposed by landscape designer Ernest F. Coe in 1928, the park was dedicated on Dec. 6, 1947, just one month after Marjory Stoneman Douglas had captured the world’s attention with her landmark book about the region, “The Everglades: River of Grass.” The park covers 1.5 million acres and has been designated a World Heritage site, international biosphere reserve and wetland of international importance by UNESCO.
Artist Dan Cosgrove created the digital illustration based on photographs of wildlife in the Everglades. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp.
Great Smoky Mountains stamp
Mists rising like the smoke of innumerable campfires and chimneys give these mountains their name. The Great Smoky Mountains are home to the most visited national park in the United States, extensive national forests and a vast array of native plants and animals.
The Great Smoky Mountains Priority Mail Express stamp captures an iconic mountain scene near Newfound Gap between Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina. In the foreground, a red-tailed hawk flies over the landscape.
The national park was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, and in 1988, was designated an international biosphere reserve along with other areas of Southern Appalachia. Equally rich in history, folkways and culture, the Great Smoky Mountains are an American treasure.
Artist Dan Cosgrove sketched the scene in pencil, then scanned the image and finished the illustration digitally. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp.
Both stamps are sold in panes of four.
The United States Postal Service is an independent federal establishment, mandated to be self-financing and to serve every American community through the affordable, reliable and secure delivery of mail and packages to more than 163 million addresses six and often seven days a week. Overseen by a bipartisan Board of Governors, the Postal Service is implementing a 10-year transformation plan, Delivering for America, to modernize the postal network, restore long-term financial sustainability, dramatically improve service across all mail and shipping categories, and maintain the organization as one of America’s most valued and trusted brands.
The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.