Wild South Florida — Naturally Wild
 
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The Ultimate Guide to the Outdoors and Environment in Broward, Collier, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties.
   
Almanac Places to Visit
     
 
 
   
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
fakahatchee strand
fakadahatchee
fakahatchee strand
 

137 Coast Line Drive
Copeland

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The folks who maintain Fakahatchee call it the Amazon of the North America. Drive into the park and you may ask yourself why. Drive deeper into the park and it becomes abundantly clear. At first, it's open land, followed by wet prairie dotted by the occasional hammock, transitioning to hardwood forest and finally to deep cypress swamp. Twenty miles of it. Dark. Untamed. Full of life.

Fakahatchee sits about 15 miles south of I-75 along SR 29 in Collier County. Driving south from I-75, you won't see a sign for the park but you will see a Great Florida Birding Trail marker pointing you in the right direction. A turn onto Jane's Scenic Drive takes you into the park. From U.S. 41, Fakahatchee is a short drive north along SR 29 and the turn is well marked.

Fakahatchee is essentially a natural drainage channel, funneling freshwater from the north toward the Ten Thousand Islands in the south. The park was once the province of loggers, who clear-cut swaths of old-growth cypress, built networks of roads and railroad beds and a series of canals to drain the place. Much of the damage they caused is slowly healing naturally; canals are being filled to restore natural water flow as part of the Everglades Restoration Plan. Old railroad beds are now hiking trails. There is a scenic drive, but the road is rough and wet making for a slow ride. It's well worth the time and the bumps.

 
 
 
 
More Resources for Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
Institute for Regional Conservation Great Florida Birding Trail Friends of Fakahatchee  
 
Photo Gallery for Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
alligator golden rod american blueheart great white egret
red-shouldered hawk black vulture lobelia little blue heron
turkey vulture spider lily dahoon holly smart weed
Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without their express permission.