Flagler's Middle Keys connection : recreation. nature. history.

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Material Information

Title:
Flagler's Middle Keys connection : recreation. nature. history.
Physical Description:
Book
Creator:
Dunn, Andrew
Publisher:
School of Landscape Architecture and Planning, College of Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Florida Keys
history
recreation
nature
tourism

Notes

Abstract:
The Middle Keys was once considered the largest feat to overcome in Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railway. The area contains some of the prime examples of man’s never ending quest to conquer nature. Some of the greatest engineering feats of the early 20th century are contained within my site. Also contained within my site and adjacent to my site are arguably some of the most unique ecosystems found within the Keys. The abundance of cultural history and ecologic diversity were the driving forces in choosing my site. Flagler’s Middle Keys Connection creates a destination for residents and tourists of the Middle Keys. Located between Marathon, FL and Big Pine Key, FL, the site contains 8 historic bridges, Pigeon Key (historic island), Boot Key (Florida Forever Land), and is bordered by Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve, The National Key Deer Wildlife Refuge, and The Great White Heron National Wildflife Refuge. The abundance of natural and cultural history are a catalyst to create a premiere eco-tourism destination for the region. The linear site is also a missing link in the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail that runs the 106 mile path from Key Largo to Key West. Another notable feature of the site is the Overseas Highway which was recently designated a National Scenic Highway. The program relies heavily on the development of the outdoor recreation opportunities associated with the Overseas Heritage Trail, but also includes the 1100 acre Boot Key which is currently in the acquisition stages for the Florida Forever Act. The recreation opportunities include but are not limited to: biking, jogging, hiking, fishing, kayaking, birding, camping, picnicking, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, paddle boarding, boating and auto touring. The site will offer various interpretive displays and supplement the existing Pigeon Key Overseas Railway Museum.
General Note:
Landscape Architecture capstone project

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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AA00013325:00001


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introduction 1 Flaglers Middle Keys Connection Recreation. Nature. History.

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The University of Florida College of Design, Construction, and Planning Flaglers Middle Keys Connection A Landscape Architecture Undergraduate Thesis Project Andrew Dunn Faculty AdvisorLester Linscott April 2012

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DedicationThis project is dedicated to the future generations. May they acquire a passion and understanding for the cultural and natural history of the land. AcknowledgementsI would like to thank many people that have been there for me along the way. First and foremost my parents for introducing me to nature at an early age. The exposure about. My classmates for always being there with an answer to a question and never turning down a good time. I would also like to thank the faculty for their constant guidance: Tina Gurucharri, Kevin Thompson, Bo Zhang, Les Linscott, Kay Williams, Glen Acomb, Chris Lathrop, Mary Padua and Gail Hansen.

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Table of ContentsChapter one Introduction..............................................................................................9 Chapter two Context Analysis........................................................................................18 Chapter three Synthesis..................................................................................................29 Chapter four Concepts..................................................................................................34 Master Plan...............................................................................................37 Chapter six Boot Key Wildlife Outpost...........................................................................41 Chapter seven Sunset Park...............................................................................................49 Chapter eight Veterans Park............................................................................................57 Chapter nine Overseas Park...........................................................................................65 References................................................................................................72

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Introduction Chapter 1 Chapter 1

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10 The Middle Keys was once considered the largest feat to overcome in Henry Flaglers Overseas Railway. The area contains some of the prime examples of mans never ending quest to conquer nature. Some of the greatest engineering feats of the early 20th century are contained within my site. Also contained within my site and adjacent to my site are arguably some of the most unique ecosystems found within the Keys. The abundance of cultural history and ecologic diversity were the driving forces in choosing my site. Flaglers Middle Keys Connection creates a destination for residents and tourists of the Middle Keys. Located between Marathon, FL a nd Big Pine Key, FL, the site contains 8 historic bridges, Pigeon Key (historic island), Boot Key (Florida Forever Land), and is bordered by Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve, The National Key Deer Wildlife Refuge, and The Great White Heron natural and cultural history are a catalyst to create a premiere eco-tourism destination for the region. The linear site is also a missing link in the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail that runs the 106 mile path from Key Largo to Key West. Another notable feature of the site is the Overseas Highway which was recently designated a National Scenic Highway. The program relies heavily on the development of the outdoor recreation opportunities associated with the Overseas Heritage Trail, but also includes the 1100 acre Boot Key which is currently in the acquisition stages for the Florida Forever Act. The recreation opportunities include but are kayaking, birding, camping, picnicking, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, paddle boarding, boating and auto touring. The site will offer various interpretive displays and supplement the existing Pigeon Key Overseas Railway Museum. Abstract

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11 Big Pine Key, FL Scout Key Little Duck Key Overview Located in between Marathon, FL and Big Pine Key, Fl in the Florida Keys. The site represents a missing link in the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. the project spans from Knights Key west southwest to Spanish Harbor Key. The linear site connects 8 islands, 4 of which will be designed within the parameters of the project. Two of the other four will be utilized only as connectors for the site to run through. The other two (Pigeon Key and Bahia Honda State Park) are existing attractions to the area that the project will connect to. Bahia Honda State Park Overview Marathon, FL Knights Key Boot Key The Site 13 miles long (approximately 8.5 miles span open ocean) Boot Key (approximately 1100 acres) Knights Key (approximately 25 acres) Little Duck Key (approx. 15 acres) Spanish Harbor Key (approx. 25 acres) Pigeon Key

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12 of the puzzle to connect Henry Flaglers Florida East Coast Railway to Key West. In the late 19th century and early 20th century Key West was the largest city in Florida despite it being only accessible by water. The water access the United States to trade with the Caribbean. This was the main reason Flagler decided to extend the railroad to Key West. With the opening of the Panama Canal there were great plans for Key West to become the largest port on the East Coast. Two of the greatest engineering feats of the Overseas Railway are the Seven Mile Bridge and the Bahia Honda Bridge both of which are within the boundaries of my site. The old seven mile bridge, once considered the th wonder of the world, was for some time the longest bridge in the world and the unique bridge due to the fact that it was the only steel truss span, and that it had to cross the deepest channel in the Florida Keys. The amount of cultural history involved with the historic railway in itself creates a destination for history seekers. Seven Mile Bridge Bahia Honda Bridge History

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13 Tourism Flow Tourism drives the economy of the Florida Keys.The majority of the visitors to my site will be traveling by car on their way south to Key West. Floridas Turnpike and I-95 are the main routes people travel on their way south to the Florida Keys. Once they reach homestead they travel through 18 miles through the Everglades before arriving in Key Largo. Miami international airport and Ft. Lauderdale international airport are major portals for the tourism Marathon or Key West airports. An even smaller number of visitors arrive via cruise ship. In the latter case these visitors normally dont leave Key West. Fortunately the only route to Key West runs directly through my site and will force visitors to at least view if not stop and enjoy it. Miami Key Largo Marathon Key West Ft. Lauderdale Islamorada Tourism

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14 Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail is a multi-use trail that is currently in the construction phase. Areas surrounding the famous bridges lack infrastructure and program. Connectivity between these sites is very limited. Historic bridges are being closed from pedestrian access due to structural safety issues. Conservation lands are in the proccess of being acquired under the Florida Forever Land Act. Issues

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15 The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) traverses 106 miles from Key Largo to Key West along the path of the overseas highway. The goal of the trail is to connect the different communities throughout the Florida Keys and provide a non-motorized form of transportation while promoting various forms of outdoor recreation. In its current stage the trail is contiguous throughout the Upper Keys, but becomes severely disconnected at the east entrance to my site. Users of the trail are forced to ride or walk on the shoulder of the new Seven Mile Bridge. This is accepted by many of the long distance cyclists, but becomes a major deterrent for the family oriented and/or less skilled cyclist. The trail also promotes other forms of recreation sites are located along the trail. View of the Overseas Heritage Trail at Sunset Park. FKOHT

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16 Bridges owned by FDOT or FDEP. Three different styles of bridge are relative to the depth of the water they are in. In the 1940s the bridges were repurposed to Original surface deck was expanded from 12 to 22 to accomodate the two lane Overseas Highway. On several of the historic bridges the expanded road bed has badly deteriorated. FDOT has been removing sections of bridges to prevent pedestrian access to these unsafe bridges. In several cases bridges have been restored to piers. Many of these bridges could be key components in connecting the FKOHT through this area. Historic Bridges

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Context Analysis Chapter two

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19 Miami Key West Key Largo Marathon Proposed Site Distances to: Orlando-350 miles Miami118 miles Key Largo54 miles Marathon4.3 miles Key West43.5 miles Context Orlando Big Pine Key

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20 Scenic Highway Overseas Highway Popular Views The Overseas Highway is the only vehicular access to the Florida Keys. This route stretches from North Key Largo 106 miles south and ends in Key West. Recently it was designated as a National Scenic Highway. Fortunately the location of my parks maximizes exposure to toursists that are traveling along the road. Arguably some of the best views on the 106 mile route can be found within my site, notably the Seven Mile Bridge and Bahia Honda Bridge.

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21 FKOHT Project Sites Existing FKOHT trails Proposed FKOHT trails Bridge Restoration The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail is a multi-use corridor that is intended to connect the different communities and attractions within the Keys. Unfortunately there is a lack of overall connection between my sites and much improvement could be done to provide and the shoulder of some of the bridges in the area. Creating catwalks that cantilever off of the existing road structure could provide an alternate mode for safe transportation of the trail route.

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22 Attractions The surrounding area offers various recreation opportunities most of which are water based activities. Among the leading opportunities is present, but the infrastructure and accessibility is seriously lacking. Almost every opportunity relies on the abundance of natural and cultural resources. Wildlife Refuge Attractions State Park National Key Deer Wildlife Refuge Bahia Honda State Park Seven Mile Bridge Pigeon Key Historic Site Crane Point Museum Sombrero Beach

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23 Historic Sites tarpon migration pattern Reef tarpon migration pattern Proposed Site Historic Bridges Bridge Break NRHP Site Historic Structure Pigeon Key Historic Site 12 Structures on the National Register of Historic Places 24 Structures on the National Register of Historic Places Sand Key Lighthouse Historic Rest Stop Historic Rest Stop and the development of the Overseas Railway. There are 8 Flagler era historic bridges located in between my sites as well as numerous others in the immediate context. Among the other features are several sites that are listed on the National Register of Historic places as well as historic rest stops that were associated with the early Overseas Highway.

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24 Fishing Atlantic Flyway Mississippi Flyway Fishing Hotspot Edge of Reef Sombrero Reef Offshore Fishing Marina Public Fishing Pier work could be done to maximize this opportunity. The various marinas as well as guide services in the area provide opportunities for people who have the time and money to get out and explore what the area has to offer.

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25 Birding Great Florida Birding Trail Site Falcon Hotspot Wading Bird Area Crane Point Museum and Nature Center Bahia Honda State Park Blue Hole & The Jack Watson and Fred Manillo Trails An activity that has gained popularity in recent years is birding. This area has an abundance of opportunities for users to get out and experience some of the best birding found in the Florida Keys.

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26 Land Use Surrounding land use (West of site): The surrounding land use in the Big Pine Key area is primarily single family residential with commercial uses along the highway. Big Pine Key and the islands to the north are included in the Wildlife Key Deer Refuge and The Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge.

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27 Land Use Surrounding land use (East of site): The surrounding land use in the Marathon area consists of commercial along the highway with single family residential neighborhoods on the waterfront. Marathon has a small airport as well as other amenities found in small cities.

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Synthesis Chapter three

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30 Project Goals Maximize outdoor recreation opportunities Program areas for optimum uses Expand the recreation opportunities passed the shoreline Include all potential user groups Provide a stimulus to the local economy Create a destination that draws tourists and keeps tourists in the area Preserve and enhance the historic and natural integrity of site Utilize low impact design to preserve sensitive ecosystems Interpret the landscape to educate the users

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31 Program Land Based Recreation Sight Seeing Birding Cycling Jogging Camping Picnics Sunbathing Water Based Recreation Boating Fishing Eco-tours Ferry rides Kayaking Paddleboarding Swimming Snorkeling Conservation Wildlife Areas Seagrass Restoration Education Marine Biology Ecology Natural History Cultural History

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32 Spanish Harbor Veterans Memorial Park Opportunity Deep water access Scenic Views Connect with SP Large area Constraint Poor Access (car) steep topo Opportunity Pristine Beach Scenic Views Existing Chickees Historic Structure Terminus of 7 mile Boat Ramp Constraint Limited Space U.S. 1 divides Synthesis Knights Key Boot Key Opportunity Terminus of 7 mile Historic Structure FKOHT connection Great Fishing Historic Value Constraint Limited Space Space under bridge Steep Topo Opportunity Pristine Ecosystems Existing Structures Birding Education Center Zoned for Building Constraint Garbage/Litter No Access (car) Sensitive ecosystems Seven Mile and Bahia Honda Bridges Opportunity FKOHT connectivity multi-use corridor Constraint Limited Space The site has numerous opportunities to accomodate a more structured programming for nature based recreation. The amount of tourists that travel by these sites is the greatest opportunity. I intend to provide activities for tourists to stay in the area instead of stop in and continue south on their way to Key West.

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Concepts Chapter four

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35 Concept 1The History of Land Travel -Connect the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail through the historic bridges -Trail will serve as a contiguous multi-use linear park connecting Marathon and Big Pine -Create Hubs at Knights Key and Spanish Harbor to serve as museums and welcome centers -Create Rest Stop at Veterans Memorial Park to its natural state. Concepts Concept 2Native Transportation -Maintain the bridges only as monuments of ingenuity -Provide ferries for users to experience what life was like before the railroad -Maximize accessibility for kayakers and other water born activities -Promote marine based environmental education -Expand the site to provide primitive camping experiences -Utilize Boot Key as a wildlife outpost -Combine both concepts to provide a diverse experience and accomodate more users -Win, Win, Win

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Master Plan

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38 Sunset Park Boot Key Outpost Veterans Park Overseas Park Big Pine Key Marathon Master

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39 Ferry Dock Ferry Route Public Boat Ramp Kayak Launch Connections Marine access to the sites is a key component to connectivity of the different areas. Providing a ferry service that connects the sites gives users insight as to what transportation was like prior to the Overseas Railway. It also provides a great opportunity for people to get out on the water and experience something that most are not accustomed to.

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Boot Key Chapter six

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42 Boot Key Outpost Marathon Big Pine Key Seven Mile Bridge Site details: 1100 acres Being acquired by the Florida Forever Land Act Variety of outdoor experiences available Unique eco systems Conditions Context

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43 Analysis

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44 Conditions 1 2 3 4 6 5 1 2 3 4 5 6

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45 Ecosystems Saltwater Lakes and Creeks Mangroves Rockland Hammock Coastal Dune Disturbed Soils Boot Key Ecosystems

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46 Site Plan

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47 Experience Boot Key offers a great wilderness experience without the long distance paddling involved. Users can choose from a variety of camping experiences. This perspective depicts a typical platform camping experience where kayakers can paddle up tie off there kayaks and stay for the night.

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Sunset Park Chapter seven

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50 Marathon Big Pine Key Sunset Park Site Details: Located at the west end of the 7 mile bridge Provides access for Pigeon Key Lacks program and infrastructure Context

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51 1 2 3 4 5 Existing Marathon

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52 Slopes >20% Historic Structure Entrance to 7 mile Bridge Good Views Access Barrier Overseas Highway Existing Trail Parking Entrance HP 26.0 20 10 0 20 10 0 0 20 10 0 0 0 0 0 Analysis

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53 Master

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54 Museum stairs Sunset Park Welcome Center provides natural and cultural exhibits and has a stairway that links the parking area and museum to the waterfront and ferry dock.

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55 Fishing Pier

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Veterans Park Chapter eight

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58 Context Marathon Big Pine Key Veterans Park Site Details: Located at the west end of the 7 mile bridge Minimal existing infrastructure Popular beach area

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59 1 2 3 4 Existing Marathon

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60 Analysis

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61 Master

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62 Interpretive Trail Pacet Viaduct underpass provides access to the north and south portion of the site as well as an interpretive experience into a new type of historic bridge architecture.

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63 Reef Ball Garden adjacent protected waters.

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Overseas Park Chapter nine

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66 Context Marathon Big Pine Key Overseas Park Site Details: Located at the west end of the historic Bahia Honda Bridge Abandoned historic park 25 Acres

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67 Slopes >20% Historic Structure Bahia Honda Bridge Good Views Unsafe to access Overseas Highway Historic Rail Path Parking Entrance HP 28.0 20 10 0 20 20 10 20 10 0 20 10 0 10 0 Analysis Marathon

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68 Existing 1 2 3 4 5

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69 Master

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70 Interpretative Trail Overseas Park interpretive trail educates users about the path of the railway through the site and gives information to ease navigation to the different areas of the site.

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References

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Gallagher, Dan. Floridas Great Ocean Railway: Building the Key West extension. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple P, 2003. Gallagher, Dan. The Florida Keys environmental story: A panorama of the environment, culture and history of Monroe County, Florida. [Big Pine Key, FL]: Seacamp Association, 1997. Zeiller, Warren. The Florida Keys overseas railway. Berkeley and Wilton, CA: Signature P, 2006. References