On Monday morning we loaded our bikes up and headed out PGA Blvd. to the Sandhill Crane Access Park. The park is not far away and is located at the edge of one of the largest collective wild lands in Palm Beach County. It was quiet, we only saw 1 other jogger and 1 other bicycle. We saw a variety of plants and animals, including an alligator.
The park serves as a trailhead into the Loxahatchee Slough National Area, which then leads to the Hungryland Slough, the Sandhill Crane Natural area, the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management area, and Grassy Waters Preserve. A SLOUGH is an area of soft, muddy ground; swamp or swamplike region.
The Loxahatchee Slough is the headwaters for the State of Florida’s wild and scenic Loxahatchee River.
Most of the Melaleuca trees are dying off. Sometime around 1900 somebody got the bright idea to bring these trees from Australia to dry up the water in these precious wetlands. (See HERE for more information.) In Florida they are a pest and spread quickly, threatening the very existence of the unique eco-system of South Florida. Finally, they look to be almost gone.
The trail that we rode is the BLUEGILL Trail, which connects NENA – Northeast Everglades National Areas. NENA stretches from Southern Blvd. in Palm Beach County northward to Bridge Road in Martin County, and from Lake Okeechobee to the Atlantic Ocean. We have a lot of exploring to do.
From 1955 – 1985 more than 2400 square miles of wetlands where lost in South Florida to land “development”. We are now putting the WET back into wetlands. This cult of wilderness is not a luxury, but is necessary for our life and well being. It’s great to see it happening and ride a bicycle within it. I love that wording: The Cult of Wilderness!