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Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park

Map of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
Map showing location of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park is located north of Everglades City and lies adjacent to the western border of the Big Cypress National Preserve. It is owned by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The Strand’s 74,000 acres are part of the main drainage slough of the Big Cypress Swamp.

A 2,000-foot-long boardwalk at Big Cypress Bend, accessible via the US 41 (Tamiami Trail), winds through old growth cypress swampland. Trails on old logging tramroads, remaining from past lumbering operations in the early 1900’s, also provide access to the preserve.

Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park contains the largest stand of native royal palms, and is home to many rare species of bromeliads and orchids. Many endangered or threatened animal species such as the Florida panther, Florida black bear, and wood stork are found here as well.

Walk the boardwalk at Big Cypress Bend and take-in some of the Big Cypress Swamp mystique.

A photo gallery is available for this page. [Photos taken December, 1999]

The egret and the thief
photo of a heron stealing a fish from an egret
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A great blue heron and great egret in the parking lot by the Big Cypress Bend boardwalk at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. The heron is enjoying a fish dinner thanks to the hunting skills of the egret. While the egret had initially held a fish in it’s beak, the heron’s squabbling caused the egret to drop it. The greedy heron quickly scooped the fish in its mouth and ate it. (Great blue herons stand a little over 4 feet tall and are known as Florida’s largest wading bird, so do you really blame the timid egret?)

USGS Science
Along the path to the Fakahatchee boardwalk is a USGS Observation Well/Water Resources Division Pump data collection unit. Observation wells allow USGS scientists to perform groundwater monitoring and collect water data such as water levels, water quality and water flows. photo of an observation well
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Morning glory
photo of morning glory flower
[larger image]
Alongside the Preserve’s boardwalk, where soils were a bit drier, this morning glory was resting amid the ferns. The leaves of the morning glory vine may be entire (no lobes or divisions) or three-lobed. This vine, which blooms year round, has trumpet-shaped flowers that may be white to pink in color and may be solitary or two to three in a cluster.

Dahoon hollies
photo of hahoon hollies
[larger image]
The red berries of this dahoon holly stand out against the lush, green, swamp fern-dominated understory seen east of the path to the Fakahatchee boardwalk.

Dahoon hollies are small trees that can grow to heights of 30 feet. Female trees have fruits in the winter. Fruits are a bright red, but can be orange or yellow. Many different songbirds like to eat these fruits. The dahoon holly is native to Florida and is usually found in wet areas

IPIX - Middle of Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk  
Navigate around this 360° view along the Big Cypress Bend boardwalk at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.

Lichens are made up of two symbiotic organisms, algae and fungus. The fungus collects water and provides the basic structure while the algae makes food via photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process of transforming light energy (the sun) into chemical energy (sugars, food).

While you're looking around, you might want to watch out for those Cypress trees!

  IPIX image of the boardwalk along Big Cypress Bend
Note: You will need the free IPIX viewer to view this 360° image  

IPIX - End of Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk
 
Navigate around this 360° view at the end of the Big Cypress Bend boardwalk at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. The deeper waters in the swamp formed this "lake" where we had a brief glimpse of an alligator before it silently submerged below the waters surface. You might want to keep an eye out for alligators!   IPIX image of the end of Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk
Note: You will need the free IPIX viewer to view this 360° image  

The end of our journey
photo of the end of Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk
[larger image]
The cypress trees that surround this swamp lake in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park have shed their leaves for winter, while nearby the boardwalk end, flowers were seen in bloom.


Related SOFIA Information

Below we have listed science projects and publications for studies that are being conducted, or have been conducted, in the area of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. Follow these links to read about each project and to see project-related publications and data.

Science Projects:

Related Publications:

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
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Last updated: January 15, 2013 @ 12:44 PM (KP)