FOURTH EDITION

EXPLORING WILD SOUTH FLORIDA
A Guide to Finding the Natural Areas and Wildlife

SUSAN D. JEWELL

CONTENTS
Color section between pages 54 and 55. Acknowledgments vii Introduction ix

I

AN OVERVIEW
How to Use This Book 1 Planning Your Trip 2 When You Arrive 7 A Brief Human History of South Florida 16 A Quick View of the Mainland 18 A Quick View of the Florida Keys 21 Hammocks 33 Lakes and Rivers 34 Estuaries and Bays 34 Beaches and Dunes 36

II HABITATS
Coral Reefs 25 Mangroves 27 Cypresses 28 Pinelands 30 Sawgrass Marshes 31

III A PEEK AT THE SPECIAL WILDLIFE
Tree Snails 37 Spiny Lobsters 38 Conchs 39 Florida Panthers 39 Dolphins 40 Manatees 41 Alligators and Crocodiles 42 Gopher Tortoises 44 Sea Turtles 45 Raptors 46 Wading Birds 48 Red-cockaded Woodpeckers 50 Florida Scrub-Jays 50

IV THE UNWANTED PESTS
Invasive Animals 51 Invasive Plants 54

V NATURAL AREAS OF SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA (Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties)
Map 57 Apoxee Urban Wilderness Park 58 Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge 59 Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park 63 Biscayne National Park 65 Broward County Parks 70 Deerfield Island Park 70 Fern Forest Nature Center 71 Long Key Natural Area and Nature Center 73 Secret Woods Nature Center 74 Tree Tops Park 75 West Lake Park and Ann Kolb Nature Center 76 Broward County Natural Areas 78 Dupuis Reserve State Forest (Dupuis Management Area) 79 Everglades National Park 82 Map 83 Main Park Entrance 88

Flamingo 98 Chekika 103 Shark Valley 104 Everglades City 107 Grassy Waters Preserve 111 Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and Red Reef Park 113 Hugh Taylor Birch State Park 115 John D. MacArthur Beach State Park 116 John U. Lloyd Beach State Park 118 J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area and Hungryland Slough 119 Miami-Dade County Parks 121 Arch Creek Park 121 Castellow Hammock Preserve and Nature Center 122 Greynolds Park 124 Matheson Hammock Park 125 Navy Wells Pineland Preserve 126 Oleta River State Park 128 Palm Beach County Parks 129 Green Cay Wetlands and Nature Center 129 John Prince Memorial Park 130 Loggerhead Park and Marinelife Center 131 Okeeheelee Park and Nature Center 132 Riverbend Park 133 South County Regional Park 135 Wakodahatchee Wetlands 136 Solid Waste Authority Greenway Trail System 137 Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area 138 Stormwater Treatment Areas 140 Water Conservation Areas 142

VI NATURAL AREAS OF SOUTHWESTERN FLORIDA (Collier, Hendry, Lee, and northern Monroe Counties)
Map 143 Big Cypress National Preserve 144 Briggs Boardwalk and Rookery Bay 149 Cayo Costa State Park 151 Collier County Parks 152 Lake Trafford County Park 152 Collier-Seminole State Park 153 Corkscrew Marsh 155 Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary 157 Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park 160 Estero Bay Preserve State Park 161 Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park 162 Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge 166 Gasparilla Island State Park 168 J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge 170 Koreshan State Historic Site 174 Lee County Parks 176 Caloosahatchee Regional Park and Hickey’s Creek Paddling Trail 176 Matanzas Pass Preserve 177

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve 178 Lovers Key State Park 179 Naples Nature Center 180 Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest 182 Picayune Strand State Forest 183 Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation 186 Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge 188

VII NATURAL AREAS OF THE FLORIDA KEYS (Monroe County)
Map 191 Bahia Honda State Park 192 Crane Point Museum and Nature Center 195 Curry Hammock State Park 197 Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park 198 Dry Tortugas National Park 200 Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center 205 Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park 206 Indian Key Historic State Park 207 John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park 208 Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park 212 Long Key State Park 215 Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area 217 National Key Deer Refuge 218 Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park 221

VIII TRAILS: BLUEWAYS AND GREENWAYS
Map 223 Paddling Trails 224 Florida Recreational Trails 224 Great Calusa Blueway 224 Paradise Coast Blueway 224 Florida Keys Overseas Paddling Trail 225 Hiking and Bicycling Trails 226 Florida Trail 226 Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail 226 Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail 228

IX ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Wildlife Checklists 229 Bird Checklist 230 Mammal Checklist 246 Reptile Checklist 248 Amphibian Checklist 252 Scientific Names of Plants 254 Suggested Reading 258 Additional Sources Used in Preparation of this Book 260 Other Sources of Information 261 Glossary 264 Image Credits 267 Index 271

V
HENDRY

NATURAL AREAS OF SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA

Lake Okeechobee

6 14
Pahokee
PALM BEACH

Jupiter

24 9

Belle Glade 30 29

80

ARM Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

26 1 22 16

West Palm Beach

18 15

33 10 95 27 Raton
12
Boca

27
31

Water 34 Conservation Area 2

8 5
13

BROWARD

75
COLLIER

Ft. Lauderdale

Water 35 Conservation Area 3
MIAMIDADE

19

25 32

Hollywood

17 36

11 2

MONROE

41

23 20

Miami

4
Homestead Everglades National Park

3

7 28

21

Biscayne National Park Florida City

1

Flamingo

0

10 MILES

20

30

1. Apoxee Urban Wilderness Park 2. Arch Creek Park 3. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park 4. Castellow Hammock Preserve 5. Deer eld Island Park 6. Dupuis Reserve State Forest 7. Everglades National Park – Main Entrance 8. Fern Forest Nature Center 9. Grassy Waters Preserve 10. Green Cay Wetlands and Nature Center 11. Greynolds Park 12. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center 13. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park 14. J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area and Hungryland Slough 15. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park 16. John Prince Memorial Park 17. John U. Lloyd Beach State Park 18. Loggerhead Park and Marinelife Center 19. Long Key Natural Area and Nature Center 20. Matheson Hammock Park 21. Navy Wells Pineland Preserve 22. Okeeheelee Park and Nature Center 23. Oleta River State Park 24. Riverbend Park 25. Secret Woods Nature Center 26. Solid Waste Authority Greenway Trail System 27. South County Regional Park 28. Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area 29. Stormwater Treatment Area 1E 30. Stormwater Treatment Area 1W 31. Stormwater Treatment Areas 3&4 32. Tree Tops Park 33. Wakodahatchee Wetlands 34. Water Conservation Area 2 Access 35. Water Conservation Area 3 Access 36. West Lake Park and Ann Kolb Nature Center

Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties

Natural Areas of Southeastern Florida

57

1

Apoxee Urban Wilderness Park

Facilities: Hiking and bicycling trails, chemical toilets Activities: Hiking, bicycling Admission: Free Hours: Daily 7 am–6 pm Pets: Not allowed Best Time of Year: November to April

This new park (pronounced “Ah-po’-ee”) is managed by the City of West Palm Beach for water conservation and visitor use. It provides access to a short paved hiking trail with a 2.5-mile unpaved extension through wetlands, hammocks, and pine flatwoods. The park is approximately midway along the 16.5-mile Owahee Trail (northern terminus is at Grassy Waters Preserve). Hikers and bicyclists can go north for about 8 open and level miles to the Northlake Blvd. access of the Owahee Trail, or south, then west, and then north for 8 miles to the Preserve boundary, where there is no public access (must return to Apoxee). The habitat is wetlands. Bring drinking water.
DIRECTIONS

Take Florida’s Turnpike to Exit 98 (Jog Road). Go north to parking lot on left, one mile past Okeechobee Boulevard. CONTACT Apoxee Urban Wilderness Park 3125 North Jog Road West Palm Beach 33411 561-804-4985 www.cityofwpb.com/park/park. php?id=47#tabs

58

Natural Areas of Southeastern Florida

Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Facilities: Headquarters: Visitor center, observation tower, self-guided nature trails, canoe and kayak rentals, boat ramps (Loxahatchee Canoeing, Inc.; 561733-0192; www.canoethe everglades.com) Hillsboro: chemical toilets, boat ramp Activities: Wildlife viewing, paddling, boating (except airboats), hiking, bicycling Admission: U.S fee area Hours: Refuge open daily, sunrise to sunset; Hillsboro entrance open 6 am–8 pm; Visitor center hours vary seasonally (core hours 9 am–4 pm)—closed Mondays and Tuesdays May–mid-October, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas; paddling trail at main entrance usually closed in summer Pets: Not allowed South Florida Birding Trail: 81 Best Time of Year: November– April for observing birds and other wildlife, paddling, and hiking. Canoe Trail may be closed in summer; perimeter canal open all year. Mosquitoes rarely noticeable except in summer twilight.

Originally, the Everglades covered almost 4,000 square miles. It now covers less than half of that. Part of what remains is contained in A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (221 square miles or 143,874 acres). The refuge contains the largest remaining undisturbed northern Everglades habitat. In fact, it was established in 1951 to protect this unique habitat, which is surprisingly different from the southern Everglades. The southern Everglades is fairly open, with relatively few scattered large tree islands and shallow peat. The refuge contains thousands of small tree islands and deep peat— up to 12 feet thick. While the tree islands in the south are formed on the limestone bedrock that breaks the water’s surface, tree islands in the refuge are formed from floating peat mats that eventually become rooted to the bottom. The refuge, which includes Water Conservation Area 1, is located downstream of one of the country’s most valuable agricultural areas. The agricultural runoff has caused water pollution, leading to a severe habitat imbalance in the part of the refuge that receives these excessive nutrients. As a result, the U.S. Department of the Interior has undertaken a massive multi-faceted program to clean the water before it enters the refuge (Stormwater Treatment Areas 1 East and 1 West) and the rest of the Everglades. Much of the refuge is off-limits to the general public. This prevents disturbance to the wildlife and the habitat. The primary visitor facilities (visitor center and trails) are at the main entrance. A 30,000-acre public use area at the refuge’s southern entrance (Hillsboro Recreation Area) is also available for day use. This part of the shallow marsh can only be accessed by boat. This southern area is used primarily by anglers year-round and waterfowl hunters from Thanksgiving to mid-January.

A. R. M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

59

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