Friday, February 3, 2012

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary - Naples

If you are visiting South Florida or if you live here and are interested in seeing what this area looked like a hundred years ago, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is the place you need to visit. Only 100 years ago South Florida was all about nature. Today, way too much is drained and paved over. In some places we have recognized our mistakes and are returning the Everglades back to nature. This is one place that is virtually untouched.

I've been all over Florida and I am pretty familiar with how things used to look. Here at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, nearly all of natural Florida is represented. From the pine Flatwoods, to the prairie and meadows, to the rivers of grass, and even one of the finest examples of Cypress swamp I've ever stepped foot in. There is a reason I've never ventured far into a Cypress swamp. It's wet, mucky, impossible to navigate by boat, and the wildlife is extremely dangerous.

To make it even remotely possible to enjoy this natural wonder, the sanctuary has installed a 2.25 mile boardwalk. Not just any wood was used. They imported special wood from South America that holds up well in wet conditions and came from verified renewable sources. The only other way to see this area would be noisy airboats, swamp buggies, or slogging (walking in the swamp). The water is not all that deep but muck can easily pull your boots off or the alligators can eat you. When I found out this was prime plumage hunting area at the turn of the century, I really had to wonder what type of person would risk their life to participate in killing millions of birds so that women could wear feathers in their hats. That is the reason the Audubon Society stepped in, bought the swamp, and eventually halted the slaughter. Now the only shooting allowed is with a camera. I was lucky enough to catch a hawk in flight and a few other pretty interesting photos. You can see them all on my Flickr site. My favorite is the mamma gator with a baby on it's back. This shot was at the limit of the lens I brought that day but click on the photo below for a larger picture. Hopefully you can make it out.


  1. How cool is that!!! I've just finished reading a book that touches on the origins of the Audubon society - it's nice to think we've become more civilised, but I despair that we've just become more creative in our methods of destruction.

    An intriguing look at the wetlands - not so much of that where I've been in OZ!!

  2. @Red - I was wondering about that. A lot of what I have seen from OZ is very dry but we seem to have a lot of the same critters. There must be a pond or swamp somewhere down there. Keep looking and I'll keep checking your posts.