Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park (FL) - FaunaClassifieds
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Field Collecting/Observing Sightings of herps in the wild, where-tos and how-tos, as well as photos of herps in their native environment.

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Old 10-16-2008, 02:26 AM   #1
WJS Herps
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park (FL)

If you ever get into the Everglades area, this is definitely a spot worth checking out. When I was in college we used to camp out on some of the private property within the park (it's full of old hunt camps and rickety cabins from the cypress cutting days).

There are tons of trails that follow the paths of the old logging trams and from what I understand the road and trail system has been updated and improved (not necessarily a good thing from my point of view). I also don't know if you can get away with camping there now. At the time I knew the park biologist and he told us to go to the private property areas - now I think things are more rigid.

Of course you can't collect here, but you never know what you're going to see. There are tons of alligators, cottonmouths (without a doubt the biggest I've seen anywhere), ribbon snakes, water snakes and various turtles in the sloughs and ponds. When you hike into the interior it really reminds you of a jungle. There are areas of dense bromeliad and tillandsia growth and the preserve has the most species of orchids in the continental U.S. It's a special place. I've been treed by a wild boar here and stood 20 feet from a very surprised, very large male black bear on a couple of the trails. We have seen fox, bobcat and played a bizarre game of chase with a pair of fearless otters along the canals. We have seen panther tracks there and heard them at night. There are huge native royal palms and 2,000 year old cypress trees that are really spectacular.

I would only suggest one thing - go between Feb-April or late Oct - December. The mosquitoes are epic in the summer months.

Have fun and let me know if you've been there or if you go!
 
Old 11-25-2008, 03:09 AM   #2
Killer Dragons
Thats good info William and it sounds exciting also. thanks
 
Old 11-25-2008, 05:44 AM   #3
WJS Herps
No problem at all. Hope you are able to check it out sometime. It is really worth it. Just don't go in the summer. That place gives new meaning to "black clouds of mosquitos" when there is a bloom.
 
Old 12-17-2008, 05:27 PM   #4
VinnyButch
Question Fakahatchee

William, if you don't mind, I have a question.

I have a little place in south florida that I spend a lot of time in (it sure beats NJ) and I drive to virtually the same area, just on the other side of Rt 29. I get off Rt 75 and head towards Everglades City, then turn left onto Wagon Wheel Road. There really isn't too much walking that's able to be done because the dirt roads are bordered by canals. Still, around dusk the sightings are usually great.
Now if I wanted to drive around the Fakahatchee Strand, (looking at Mapquest) it seems I'd pass Wagon Wheel Road and make the next left. Is there anything in particular I should look for, landmark-wise, or will I be in a good general area and just follow my nose? I'm hoping to get down next week, so I'm praying for a little good weather. If I see anything worthwhile, I'll post the pics.

Thanks,
Vinny
 
Old 12-17-2008, 05:29 PM   #5
VinnyButch
Oops

I meant to say the Fakahatchee looks to be on the right side, not the left, when travelling towards Everglades City.

vinny
 
Old 12-18-2008, 12:50 AM   #6
WJS Herps
Hi Vinny -

You're right, it should just be a few minutes down on the right from Wagon Wheel. When you pass the "Copeland Store" on the left (if it's still there), you know you're getting close. There is really only one road that runs through the preserve (Janes Scenic drive). They've been working on tearing out some of the man made canals in the area and restoring the natural water flow. If you take that road in, you can hike off on some of the side trails. You never know what you're going to see in there. I've seen some HUGE cottonmouths. Try to hit a couple of the trails/lagoons fairly early when the herps will be out sunning and warming up. Good luck. I hope to get down that way in the next couple weeks!

Bill
 
Old 12-18-2008, 02:43 AM   #7
VinnyButch
Thanks Bill, I'll post any pics I take if I make it there.

Vinny
 

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