BULLETIN NO. 62
MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS
STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Parks and Playgrounds of Florida---------_____ 5
Fishing Leads the Recreations-------------------- 7
Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Roque, etc.--------------- 10
National or State Reservations ------------------- I
The Indians and Their Reservations---------------- 12
Three National Forests-------------------------- 16
Some Beautiful Springs------------------------- 19
The Proposed Everglades National Park------------ 20
Our National Parks --------._ ---------31
Torreya State Park------- ---- ------------ 33
Gold Head Branch State Park -----------..---- 35
Fort Clinch State Park-------------- ---_-- 37
Hillsborough State Park--------------------- 39
Myakka State Park-------. ----_---------- 40
Highlands Hammock State Park ------------ 42
Volusia Hammock State Park----------------- 43
Suwannee River State Park; Florida Caverns State Park 44
Olustee Monument and State Park; Port St. Joe State
Park ------------_------------- 45
Historic Gamble Mansion --------------- 46
Some Notable Springs------------------------- 46
Other Interesting Places------------------------- 46
Camping in a Florida Hammock ----------_------ 6
Florida Deer--------------------------------- 8
Sand Hill Crane-------------------------------__ 12
Maps Showing U. S. National Park System; the Proposed
Tropic Everglades National Park ---------------- 14
Ferns, Fronds and Orchids---------------------- 15
Royal Palms in the Everglades-..---------.------ 16
A Rare Orchid------------------------ -- 21
Canoeing Through a Mangrove Forest------------- 23
Map Showing Location of State Parks.----------24 & 25
View in the Ten Thousand Islands ---------------- 26
Mother American Egret and Nest------------------ 27
Pelican Feeding Its Young--------------------- 28
White Ibis Rookery----------------------- 29
The Parks and Playgrounds
MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS
In a very large sense the entire state of Florida is a park
and playground. The whole immense sweep of coast line
from Fernandina, down the east coast and the keys to Key
West, up the west coast through the Ten Thousand Islands,
along the curving lucid waters of the Gulf of Mexico to
Pensacola, the hundreds of miles of beaches, all together
constitutes an area being devoted in a large measure to
the pleasures of a whole nation of people. Fishing, sailing,
swimming are freely possible, to everybody everywhere. In
fact, almost all outdoor sports are. Striking evidences of this
are the facts that most of the major baseball teams of the
country come to Florida for spring training and that the
world's largest circus winters here. And to those who love
:o study raw nature, this land is indeed a glorious haven.
Inland there are enormous reaches of open country, pine
land, lake regions, and highlands. In the northern counties
there are red clay and sand hills. In much of the south are
vast stretches of open or tangled Everglades into which good
roads penetrate and where camping is always possible.
Hundreds and thousands of acres, state-owned, clean and
empty to the s.ill horizon, offer to all the calm of the great
sun-filled sky and the peace and freedom of unpolluted
winds. Nowhere in the United States, unless in the western
prairies, is there an area so comparatively untouched and
unrestricted. Ask any Florida resident where are the parks
and playgrounds of Florida and he will hesitate in surprise.
Because to every Floridian all of Florida is one enormous
place of rest and recreation.
6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Fig. 1.-Camping in a Florida hammock where the trees are covered with ferns,
orchids and air plants of many varieties.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 7
But in any state so comparatively unsettled there are many
areas almost unknown, aside from 'those regularly restricted
places which. the federal government or city or county or
state, has set aside for specific park or forestry purposes.
FISHING LEADS THE RECREATIONS
Probably the greatest single recreation which the whole
state offers is fishing. Even heads of nations have testified
to this by making long trips and spending many days here
for that purpose. Fishing seems to be. here, one of the
greatest sports of the entire American people, from owners
of great white yachts to little boys with stick fishing rods.
Fish by the millions teem in all the salt waters which bound
Florida and all its 30,000 fresh water lakes and many
thousands of miles of rivers. Game fish of all descriptions
abound. Tarpon and sailfish in the Gulf Stream and among
the Ten Thousand Islands, bonefish on the reefs, all sorts
of snapper in the salty shallows, amberjack and kingfish
and barracuda and shark and porpoise, shoals of mullet and
pompano, together they furnish a wide variety for the Isaac
Waltonian. Not the sea, not the bays, nor the mangrove
mud banks of the south, nor the many reefs and inlets
and bayous will ever be fished out. Surf casting, fishing
from humble bridges and trestles and rowboats or from
elaborately equipped fishing boats, are possible to everyone.
Inland, especially in the northwest and central parts of
Florida, fresh water fishing is not less plentiful. And the
discovery of almost unknown fishing holes, the penetration
of semi-tropic rivers, of swampy trails and rough country
roads, add a wider touch of exploration, adventure and
sport than even the seacoasts can present.
Northwest Florida, for example, was described by the
late Frank Whitman, a veteran fisherman and enthusiast of
out-of-the-way trails, as "a land of rushing rivers, brawling
between and over rocks, of red clay hills, dense growths
of tall trees, of fruit and plum and pecan, blueberries and
Satsuma oranges," a fisherman's paradise. The Santa Fe and
Suwannee Rivers, reached from Branford or Old Town, are
ideal for fishing expeditions in small boats, for anything from
black bass to sturgeon in the tidewaters near the Gulf of
Mexico. There is the Kissimmee valley, a stretch of semi-
prairie country between the Kissimmee River and the upper
8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
reaches of St. Johns, wild country, difficult to.get to because
even the railroads are abandoned. Reached from Okeecho-
.bee and the little hidden town of Fort Bassinger, there is the
.almost unknown Blue Cypress Lake, an unrivalled fishing
and hunting and camping country, for the adventurers and
Fig. 2.-Florida deer become very tame quickly, and they make most lovable pets,
particularly the female. The male often has a nasty disposition.
There is a paradise amid the several hundred exquisitely
clear lakes of Lake County, ringed with tall cypress and moss-
draped water oaks. Marion County has wonderful Ockla-
waha River, Lake Weir and Orange Lake. Sumter County
has Panasoffkee Lake and River and the fish-haunted depths
of the Withlacoochee River, which can be followed by fish
boat to salt water. Citrus County has Lake Tsala Apopka
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA
and Crystal River. In old Leon County are Lakes Jackson,
lamonia, Lafayette and the new artificial Talquin.
In Pasco County there are myriads of lakes aswirl with
fish, where the bass run to record size. Weekiwachee Springs
and Weekiwachee River, west of Brooksville, are full of bass
and salt water fish at Alligator Hole and Fish Hospital, near
Bayport. There is the Myakka River at Sarasota. There is
Lake Apopka ringed with famous fishing and resort cities,
Orlando, Winter Garden and Montverde. There is Lake
Caloosa at Babson Park and Lake Walk-in-the-water, all very
And finally we mention Lake Okeechobee itself, the largest
body of fresh water wholly within the confines of the United
States. It is bordered by sugarcane and vegetable-growing
towns--Okeechobee, Belle Glade, South Bay, Clewiston.
There is fishing enough anywhere here, or in the streams
which feed it, such as Fish-eating Creek, to last hundreds
of campers for eons of years. Fish are there to be had for
the price of a fishing license, with the long days in the half-
wild open, under the soft winds and the immense sun. So
much for fishing which goes on everywhere, though only a
few high spots have been mentioned.
10 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
GOLF, TENNIS, BASEBALL, ROQUE, ETC.
More sophisticated recreations of all kinds are offered
by all Florida cities of any size. There are golf courses
everywhere, from the elaborate ones of Miami Beach where
national tournaments are held, to little sunny nine-hole ones
of towns of a single hotel. Baseball in summer (frequently
in winter) and football in fall are of predominate interest
as in any state. Tennis courts are everywhere, hidden by
jungles or facing boulevards or within sight of the purple sea.
Lesser games of all kinds, roque and shuffleboard and
horseshoes, are maintained in almost every city park. There
is horseback riding in unexpected places, from the cultivated
bridle paths of Coral Gables to the open cattle country
around Brighton or among the lovely red clay roads under
Spanish-moss-clad oaks among the old plantations around
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 11
NATIONAL OR STATE RESERVATIONS
All these things, along with horse racing and dog racing,
are consistent with the general idea that Florida is essentially
a recreation and play state. But in a more special sense
they do not touch upon the real question of parks. And
parks can be of many kinds. Federal reservations, either
parks or forests, county parks, state and national monu-
ments and some privately maintained but publicly offered
memorials may be considered under this general term.
Florida has some of all.
The Bok Singing Tower and Bird Sanctuary, near Lake
Wales, is probably the finest example in America of a pri-
vately conceived, created and maintained memorial dedicated
to and given over to the inspiration and pleasure of the
people. Surrounded by a beautifully cultivated park which
is the bird sanctuary, reflected in ornamental water, the
Bok Tower lifts its marvelous carillon of bells from what is
known as the highest land in Florida. It is a perfect example
of beauty created of natural loveliness and fine architecture.
Then there is Natural Bridge Memorial Park near Wakulla
south of Tallahassee, and Dade Memorial Park which com-
memorates the massacre of Major Dade and his command
by the Seminoles in the Indian wars. It is in Sumter county,
about one mile from Bushnell. The city of St. Augustine,
the oldest city in the United States, is itself one continuous
historical monument, focusing its tiny streets and old Spanish
buildings, including the quaint old post office and slave
market, about the government-owned reservation of Fort
Marion. There is the Harding Memorial at Kissimmee Bridge
and the park near Brooksville given to the state by Colonel
Raymond Robbins, known as Chinsegut Park.
Of county parks, there is the St. Lucie County Park, which
includes the county home, on an interesting rim of coral rock,
or rather oolithic limestone, which, like the rim of a saucer,
holds in the Everglades' brackish water and keeps out the
ocean's briny water. The Dade County Reservation, at the
north end of the peninsula of Miami Beach, is a true sea-
beach park. facing the amazing lime-greenness of the along-
shore water and the blazing purple of the Gulf Stream at the
horizon. And further south, on the mainland below Miami,
is Matheson Park, which preserves for public study one of
the finest and most untouched examples of a true tropic
jungle on this continent.
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
THE INDIANS AND THEIR RESERVATIONS
Of very special interest to the winter visitor, but offering
no facilities for camping or recreation for white men, are
the Seminole Indian Reservations in Florida. maintained by
the United States Department of the Interior. Headquarters
for Seminole Indian work is at Dania. There the Indian
agent has his office and there a school and hospital and a
series of small houses offer to these Indians, who of all
the American aborigines were the only ones never to be
conquered, some sort of help and opportunity for develop-
ment. In the depths of the Everglades fifty thousand acres
Fig. 3.-Sand hill crane. a very large bird. found only in nearby
It once was numerous over Florida.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 13
are maintained as a hunting reservation for these people.
This is not open to white men at any time. But at Dania
and at the reservation on the shores of Lake Okeechobee,
these fascinating original Americans add a very special touch
of color to the Florida scene.
These Seminoles were originally Cherokees, the most
stout-hearted and independent of the Five Creek Nations of
Georgia and Alabama. At the close of the Indian wars
some of the Cherokees fled to Florida, choosing an uncertain
freedom in the Everglades to a restricted life in Indian Terri-
tory. Joining with the Florida Indians, they became known
as Seminoles, the men-who-seceeded, the men-who-go-free.
For years the United States troops tried to track down and
subdue them, but over five hundred were never conquered.
It is the descendants of these Seminoles whom one sees on
The men still wear the brilliant Seminole shirts, if their
trousers are cheap American goods. And the delicate-faced
brown women are interesting with their glossy black pompa-
dours and their often thirty pounds of green beads stiffening
their chins, trailing in the dust their voluminous skirts of red
and yellow and blue stripe calico. They are as picturesque
and as little known as any people in America. Their reserva-
tion life, their secret tribal councils in the depths of the
Everglades, afford an unlimited opportunity for study of
ethnologists, anthropologists, students of native music and
At the very end of the Florida Keys, so much the end
that it is only a forgotten dot in the southern waters of the
Gulf of Mexico, an outpost toward Cuba, lies one of the
most interesting and unknown of all the national monuments
in the South. Up from the sandy wastes of the Dry Tortugas
lifts the grim stone walls of Fort Jefferson. Abandoned as
a fort after the Civil War, its moats are given over to
alligators, its ramparts and walls to hundreds and hundreds
of sea birds, gulls, pelicans, and the amazing frigate birds
of those waters. Its very woodwork is being taken away
for firewood by passing Cuban fishermen. Once a very
important fort, considered as a great stronghold, it is a
strange and ghostly place now.
Hundreds of Civil War prisoners died of yellow fever in
its dungeons below sea level. And here Dr. Mudd, innocent
physician to Booth who assassinated President Lincoln, served
14 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
UnztedStates .7attonal Scark System
*".. .It *. ... . >."-, \ ," ,,
".-- t -. ^^ ---[-;-- _, --a-.^ -? 6<-
-.L -. I At- 2 CIC
3 Xaumi Cxt*
^ ---- _1 c/t-J *^ .A a-hrwf Hj'S
; TROPIC EVERGLADES_.
'.ft_*- -' .--- :-r. e. ,i.s -
Fig. 4.-Showing where America's parks are located. The proposed Everglades
park will be the only one in mainland America within the tropics.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA
a long sentence, ministering unto yellow fever victims and
at last dying himself. The fort now comes under the jurisdic-
tion of the lighthouse service which maintains a beacon here.
It is also listed as the Dry Tortugas Bird Reservation of the
United States Department of Agriculture, which also tries to
preserve the turtles and shellfish of its beaches and the
sponges along its reefs. It can be reached only by boat or
seaplane from Key West. Yachting parties occasionally stop
to study its myriads of sea birds and the evidences of human
tragedy and suffering which mark its masonry. But it is a
voyage of discovery also, because it has been so completely
Fig. 5.-Ferns with fronds 15 to 18 feet long in the Everglades fastness.
Many orchids and air plants adorn the jungle trees.
16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
THREE NATIONAL FORESTS
The foregoing are some of the lesser and more sporadic
of the federal and state reservations in Florida. But our
rapidly increasing population has warned our park-minded
that special areas, much greater than any of the above, must
be set aside and cared for. Only in that way can we preserve
for future generations the beauties of our fast vanishing tree,
floral, animal and bird life. A few park and forest areas,
not yet widely known even in this state, have been created.
These parks and forests are of very many types. There are
Fig. 6.-Royal palms on the rim of the Everglades. This palm is generally re-
garded as the most beautiful and graceful of trees.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 17
at present three in northwest and central parts of the state,
maintained by the federal forestry service.
The first of the present forests is the Choctawhatchee
National Forest. lying between Pensacola and the Choctaw-
hatchee Bay, in Walton, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties,
including in its area 248,510 acres of government-owned
land. The Old Spanish Trail runs along its northern boundary
and the new Gulf Coast Highway to the south. This national
forest is intended first of all as a forestry preserve, so that
its fine areas of long-leaf southern pine, which originally
covered all this part of Florida and which was rapidly being
destroyed by ruthless cutting and burning, might be pre-
served. All over it, therefore, except along the gulf coast
itself, hundreds and thousands of young pine trees are grow-
ing, set out among the great older pines. The region is one
of open, rolling sand hills, not higher than three hundred feet.
The roads maintained by the forest reserve traverse it. It is
simple country, possessing no vast spectacular features, but
sunny and open and pine-sweet. To the man who has seen
nothing but subways and pavements, the orderly ranks of
the pine forests have something to say and give in restfulness
and quiet delight, which knows no comparison.
The southern part of the Choctawhatchee National Forest
is the bayou country, where the clear salt waters of the gulf
penetrate. Here herons stalk among the moss-hung cypress
and cedar and thousands of little yellow-legged sandpipers
run along the sandy beaches and millions of fish play. Along
its borders there are a number of small towns, hotels and
fishing camps, not spoiled by over advertising, quiet little
places with quaint names Florosa, Mary Esther, Valparaiso,
Niceville and Villa Tasso. There are golf courses and surf
bathing, and deer and turkey and other game hunting in the
wilder back country in season, and fishing without end.
Osceola National Forest contains more than 150,000 acres
and lies between Lake City and Macclenny in Columbia and
Baker Counties. This forest is flat, like all that part of the
country, and is largely pine and swamp lands. It has nothing
particularly beautiful about it. But it is interesting, not so
much from the point of view of recreation or of scenery, but
as a practical demonstration of the best possible reforestation
and government-maintained timber and turpentine workings.
The tall long-leaf pines grow vigorously in the sand and
muck soils and in the warm air and more than a quarter
of a million trees are now being worked. The naval stores
18 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
branch of the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils has a station
here. The methods of forest ranging for fire control are
particularly valuable. This forest is like a great out-of-doors
laboratory, of interest to practical-minded Americans as an
example of the right development, for practical results, of
natural resources. If recreation can include such study, then
the Osceola reservation affords a typically American sort.
Of far more real interest from the point of view of actual
recreation is the Ocala National Forest which lies in the
north center of the state, mainly in Marion but partly in
Putnam and Lake Counties. It is practically surrounded by
two of the most famous and interesting rivers in Florida, the
St. Johns and the Ocklawaha. All the old school geographies
used to carry pictures of scenes of the cypress-bordered,
moss-hung, alligator-haunted Ocklawaha River, so that tour-
ists began to think that all of Florida should look like that.
But here the Ocklawaha is even more jungly and dense and
green and southern than any of its old pictures, a lovely curv-
ing stream with beauty in every ripple and shadow. The
forest area here includes over 183,806 acres. For the most
part it is open, rolling, sand hill country, covered with sand
pine and with acre after acre of fragrant long-leaf pine, by
some miracle never cut. There are hundreds of clear, sand-
bottomed fresh water lakes, alive with big-mouth black bass,
where fishing is permitted throughout the year. Above all
other forest areas in Florida this is great deer hunting country,
a nationally maintained game refuge, with its open season
for hunters. Over a thousand deer are killed every year and
over five thousand of the charming animals make up the
present free-roaming herd. They are fair game for photog-
The high, dry sand hills, with their sage brush, sand pine
and live oaks, offer the finest sort of camping. Sites may
be leased from the government and there are very many
well-maintained public camping grounds. The lovely rivers
and the lakes are there for canoeing and sailing and swim-
ming and fishing. New areas about this, areas which in the
past have been cruelly devastated by timber men and by
fires, are being reforested rapidly, so that here also the work
of the forest service can be studied. Nothing could more
clearly illustrate the enormous value of such forest preserves,
with their excellent system of fire control and their intelligent
replanting, than the Ocala National Forest.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 19
SOME BEAUTIFUL SPRINGS
All through the middle parts of Florida, as well as else-
where, there are a number of lovely springs. Some are not
government or state parks in the strict sense of the word.
Some are merely included in town or county limits and are
commercially owned and operated. But no discussion of
the recreational facilities of Florida would be complete with-
out them. Beautiful Silver Springs near Ocala is the most
famous of these, bubbling up in crystal effervescence from the
clean boiling sand at the bottom of a lake so clear that the
shadow of a boat moves on the bottom and the boat itself
seems to hang in liquid air.
Salt Springs, north of Lake George and quite a bit south
of Palatka on the St. Johns River, is perhaps the best known
in all that charming, cypress-hung, lake and river country,
all so deep and green and shadowy under the dense trees,
so brilliant with dancing water in the open sun.
Then in Wakulla County is Wakulla Springs, more widely
known perhaps for its political gatherings than for its wonder-
ful and virgin beauty. However, during recent years it has
become more generally known for its truer and finer worth.
It is very similar to Silver Springs, though not so large.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
THE PROPOSED EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK
The last to be discussed and in every way the greatest
park area in Florida (though it is not legally a park) is
that tremendous region, thousands and thousands of acres,
covering most of the southern end of the Florida peninsula,
which is known as the proposed Everglades Tropic National
Park. Bills to make it a national park have been passed by
Congress. An enabling act, which provides for the imme-
diate transfer of state-owned lands to the National Park
Development, has already passed the Florida legislature.
And with the widespread popularity of the project and all
the weight of public approval behind it, it is reasonable to
expect that before very long this enormous area will become
one of the most unique among the list of great national parks,
the one to preserve for the American people forever the
only truly tropical region within the confines of the United
States. It is not just a park; it has much that grasps and holds
the interest and love of out-of-doors people.
Many fine things have been spoken and written about this
Everglades area, in explanation and as argument (in some
instances) why our national government should accede to
the popular demand to place it within our national park
family. As it is impossible to give even a summary here of
what our most eminent authorities have said, we are going to
single out a few paragraphs from a speech by a famed
botanist of the United States Department of Agriculture, Dr.
David Fairchild, delivered in 1929 before the American
Forestry Association. These are quoted below:
. . Speaking of mangroves, I went to Java and
saw the mangroves there. I visited Siam and Ceylon
and traveled out to New Guinea. I have been twice on
the coast of Sumatra and I have coasted along the islands
of the Fiji and Samoa and the Hawaiian groups, but
nowhere have I seen such magnificent mangrove vegeta-
tion as that which characterizes the southern Everglades
of Florida. Some years ago there visited me in Miami
a noted Japanese botanist from the Liu Chu Islands
off Formosa. He had been all over the Oriental tropics,
and when I took him into some of our mangrove swamps
here he literally gasped, for he had never seen anything
approaching the tall sixty and eighty feet avicennia trees
that made up a part of the mangrove vegetation on
Biscayne Key now a thing of the past. .
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 21
". . I once collected vandas in the mountains of
Java and with them decorated a house for Christmas.
I botanized with the great orchid collector Andre in the
coastal plains of Colombia. I have just returned from
the table lands of North Sumatra, but nowhere in all my
experience have I seen greater numbers of orchids, or
more magnificent specimens, than abound in the ham-
mocks of southern Florida . .
. I once took that veteran tree man, Prof.
Charles Sprague Sargent of the Arnold Arboretum, out
under some forty-year-old cocoanut palms in southern
Florida and he stood there for minutes with his hands
Fig. 7.-Brassia caudata, a very rare orchid, recently discovered in the area of
Everglade' Tronic National Park,
behind his back and then he remarked: 'Fairchild, after
all, it is the most beautiful of all trees.' This, from a
man who was undoubtedly the best informed man on
trees who has ever lived, I consider substantial praise. ...
. . To those who live in the shadow of northern
forests it may come as surprise that Florida has a larger
22 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
tree flora than has any other area of similar size in North
America north of the Tropic of Cancer, and in fact, as
Dr. Small remarks, 'nearly one-half of the trees known
to occur naturally in North America, north of Mexico
and the West Indies, grow naturally in the relatively
small area of Florida.' . .
".... No other area in the United States has a climate
like it. During winter it remains practically frostless,
with infrequent sudden dips in temperature to a few
degrees below freezing. These winter months are months
of almost continual sunshine and freedom from rain,
but with a relative humidity of the atmosphere of about
80 degrees. It is the balmiest winter climate that I am
familiar with after thirty years of travel and study of
climates throughout the world. It is a bit of Caribbean
climate near enough to the cold waves which sweep our
southern states to get some of the invigorating character
which is lacking in the coastal regions of Cuba or
Jamaica, and it has none of the unpleasant chilliness of
the Mediterranean climate nor the harshness of the desert
climates, nor the cold dampness and early morning haze
of the mountain climates in the tropics. This area of
southern Florida possesses one of the most remarkable
winter climates in the entire world . .
".... It includes about forty species of land animals,
among which are the opossum, raccoon, bear, weasel,
otter, grey fox, wolf, wildcat, two skunks, panther, sev-
eral bats, three squirrels, salamander, nine or ten native
mice and rats, two rabbits and a deer . .
. . Some of these have already become so rare
they may be entirely extinct. Then there are the
manatees or sea cows, those amazing sea mammals
whose formless bodies at one time started the myth of
the mermaids and which in early Florida days formed
an article of food among the 'crackers'; and dolphins,
of course, porpoises are seen more or less frequently in
the sea along the coast and in the estuaries. I do not
need to mention sharks and even whales and that
strange sea monster (a species of a whale) with bones
entirely devoid of lime. Then there are the largest
proportion of the seven hundred species of brilliant
and fascinating fishes which inhabit the coastal waters
of the region, creating, together with the tropical sea
algae, undersea gardens which rival in beauty any that
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 23
are to be seen in the Java Sea or Bermuda, and the
myriads of gar pike, that old gavoid specie which swarm
in the fresh water streams .....
... One thinks of snakes when one sees the water-
covered swamps of the Everglades, but these regions
are, as a rule, too wet for the true rattlers, and one sees
there generally only the black snake, the king snake.
the large tree snake and the water moccasin. It is true
that in the hammocks and drier regions, not only the
rattler but the coral snake live, and the former is not
infrequently found, but their presence is just sufficient
to give a touch of possible danger to a visit to the
wilder parts of the Glades . .
Fig. 8.-Canoeing through a mangrove forest in Florida: these forests are
regarded with a great deal of wonder and admiration.
. . The hammock trees of this region are the
homes of the most gorgeously beautiful and interesting
legumes or tree snails to be found anywhere in the
. There are about 125 species of birds which
build nests in southern Florida, and this represents
about half of all the species which inhabit the whole
state. Of these birds, the most interesting groups are
the cranes, bitterns, herons, egrets, rails, doves, owls,
woodpeckers, whippoorwills, jays and terns. The ducks.
geese, sandpipers, swallows, warblers and thrushes, while
visiting the area. do not nest in it. . .
Y/orida ores atid tair- &'ra
g/ak&az zsse e, a.
P= aejFooads 'o Parks
:.===-= armysedoaottks 6*ks
SMyakka River State Park Q Suwannee River
O Hillsborough River State Park Volusia Hammoct
SGold Head Branch State Park Natural Bridge S
Q Torreya State Park Q Olustee State Par
* Highlands Hammock State Park Port St. Joe Stat.
Q Fort Clinch State Park 0 Dade Massacre S
iO Florida Caverns State Park
26 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
".... This would be the only national park which
is open to the tourist and weary city dwellers through-
out those dreary winter months when snows and rains
shut them out of the other parks. Today 175,000 people
gather in the Miami region every winter; some day this
number may reach a half million, and of these, many
thousands will make the tour of the Tropic Everglades
and in proportion to the imagination they possess and
the success with which the proposed park develops, carry
north with them lasting sensation from its great broad
stretches of saw grass and its strange mangrove-lined
beaches and its cocoanut-planted shores, of a strange
Fig. 9.-Eastern side of Ten Thousand Islands where they gradually merge into the
mainland. Note the Indian canoe trail from one pool to another.
and fascinating region filled with wonderful wild life
utterly unlike any other within the confines of the United
Indeed, as Dr. Fairchild has said, this area would be the
strangest of all national parks. Not very many roads would
run through its jungles, only a few trails well and wisely
cut. Access is largely by boat, along the thousand wander-
ing miles of coast, or by canoe through the network of canals.
Hotels maintained by the park service might be situated on
the lovely outer beaches, along the keys, or at Cape Sable,
facing the brilliant green Caribbean. It will always be a
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 27
great primitive, mysterious, exciting area. On first sight many
people exclaim, "But there is nothing here." See it from
ground level or from the air above: Prairie-like reaches of
saw grass and swamp, lion-colored under the sun, dotted
with queer jungle islands of cypress or palmetto or button-
wood or holly and tangling, omnipresent vines. The Tamiami
Trail. striking across it like a great flung lance, allows people
in automobiles to camp, or just to sit and stare, impressed,
in spite of themselves, by its sheer greatness.
Along the miles and miles of straight-cut canals the herons
stride and peer and quantities of fish, even huge tarpon, slide
Fig. 10.-Mother American egret and nest. Many of these delicate looking birds
are found in the southern Everglades.
in the brown depths, and a snake's head curves off in a
ripple like an arrow and a Seminole canoe slips along, silent
and imperceptible. Beyond the tawny saw grass country.
there is a little cypress country, where tiny dwarfed trees
hundreds and hundreds of years old, stand ghostly white in
28 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
an inch or two of clear water over weedy limestone, cross-
hatched with a mist of fine green leaves. The heron and the
great white ibis hunt and build nests here.
Fig. 11.-Pelican feeding its young, on the Gulf Coast among the
Ten Thousand Islands.
And south of all this, rimming the whole, except for occa-
sional white sand beaches, bordering all the wandering
streams and rivers and inlets that are only slow, tidal reaches
of the sea that pervades everything, is the vast, green silence,
the incredible, impressible country of the mangrove. This,
the strangest tree in the world, as Dr. Fairchild has said,
strides into the mud on gray arched roots and fastening there,
anchored in clear water, until the land becomes solid behind
it. Then with slow steps the mangrove pushes out again
under its high crown of green, building more earth. Toward
the west coast and the Ten Thousand Islands, with the myriad
indentations of the sea, the mangrove is a great forest, the
most remarkable on this continent. On the gulf side it forms
a rampart of almost impenetrable boughs and arched roots,
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 29
which has marched into the face of the winds and sweeping
tides for a hundred thousand years. The trees reach from
forty to a hundred feet toward the sky, but it is the rare
powerful mass of them, under their dark, oily sea of leaves,
which makes their trackless monotony unforgettable. Thou-
sands of visitors along the waterways through them will pass
and wonder and leave no trace.
But next to the vastness and silence and sunbeaten open-
ness of this whole region, and the unforgettable mangrove,
this is the home and last stand of millions of birds. All over
Florida there are bird sanctuaries, maintained by city or
Fig. 12.-Here among wild brush jungle is located a white ibis rookery,
within the Everglades area.
private interests or, chiefly, by the American Association
of Audubon Societies. But this region of the Everglades is
the greatest bird sanctuary of them all. Because it has for
years been the last refuge, the hidden breeding place of
the million hosts of the air which gather here now. More
than any other shapes of living things, more than the
crowding myriads of fish or shy deer or cunning alligator
or tricky raccoon or any other thing or beast, this is the
final retreat of the birds.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
It is theirs by right of the vast glittering airways, of the
shallow in-shore waters boiling with billions of tiny fish, of
the endless, leafy branches offering support with every crook
and crotch to the flat stick nests, ready for eggs warmed by
a constant sun. From all parts of the northern and southern
hemispheres the migratory birds make their way here in their
seasons, and always the great hordes of the tropical varieties
raise up their generations within the confines of this unique
All the great wading birds are here, flocks and flights
and soaring bursts and ribbons of them, marking the blue
sky with their inexpressible whiteness and color, the snowy
egret and the little egret and the wood ibis and the glossy
ibis and all the herons, the Louisiana heron, and Ward's
heron and the little blue heron and great night heron. The
last of the roseate spoonbill have found harborage in this
country and the anhingas are thick here and the Florida
cormorant and the man-o'-war bird and the killdeer and
the osprey and the hawks after their many kinds and the
great bald American eagle.
In the flats along the rivers of the open country, where
a little skin of water at high tide covers the grass for acre
after polished acre the little water birds by the thousands
darken the reflections with their wading bodies, and rise
in wheeling and crying hordes at some lonely sound of a
boat's nose pushing among the reeds. It is almost the last
stand of the birds, this silent and rare land, and the birds
dominate it, making the vast sunsets exquisite with the
passing of innumerable wings. They are the answer to its
isolation, the final inimitable touch of life.
The impressiveness, the sheer greatness and power of
primeval earth which this region will hold forever intact,
will be felt inevitably by tens of thousands of visitors. Its
vast and untouched age has still the youth of the sea-ooze
in it, the youth of the great salt winds over it, and of the
imperial snow-bursts of the clouds which hang in airy dazzling
turrets at its horizons. A nation will come here and be silent
and go away and never forget.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 31
OUR NATIONAL PARKS
We have twenty-two National Parks, comprising over
11,000 square miles. They are scattered from Maine to
California and from Wisconsin to Florida. These reserva-
tions represent many kinds of wild life, and scenic wonders
of nature on parade.
Tourists in ever increasing numbers visit these parks annual-
ly. In most of them the government has provided conveni-
ences in the way of good roads, hotels, lodging and camping
grounds, so that hindrances to sight-seeing have been
reduced to a minimum.
The Yellowstone National Park is in the northwest corner
of Wyoming, at the headwaters of the Yellowstone River,
a tributary of the Missouri. The leading attraction of this
Park is the wonderful system of geysers. One of these is
called "Old Faithful." It bears this name because of the
regularity of its spouting of great quantities of boiling water
high into the air. It has been doing this for untold ages
and is one of the most miraculous things in all nature. The
play of colors, the canyons, the dash of mountain streams,
the wild life, render this Park one of nature's wonders.
The Grand Canyon National Park contains the most weird
spot on this earth-the famous canyon through which flows
the Colorado River, whose headwaters are in the mountains
of Colorado. To stand on the brink and look across and
up and down it is to be awed and subdued. One can see
only a short section of it from any one viewpoint. The canyon
is approximately two hundred miles long, thirteen miles wide
and a mile deep. Unlike most other parks it is barren, deso-
late and even oppressive, as well as impressive.
Glacier National Park is in the Northwest part of Montana.
It has a spectacular landscape, beautiful, monumental. In
the warmer seasons of the year it presents a wealth of flowers
and shrubbery that decorate its ruggedness and present
beautiful views. Mingled with snow-capped mountains, can-
yons, rivulets and lakes the scenery is sublime. It is the last
home of a vanishing Blackfeet tribe of Indians. It is also
the last stand of the Rocky Mountain sheep and goat.
Zion National Park is in Southern Utah. It is startling,
beautiful, tragic. It shows evidence that nature has gone
through a terrible cataclysm. It is aflame with gorgeous
32 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
colors and yet it shows a desolation that is terrific in mean-
ing. Cathedrals, amphitheatres, canyons, streams wending
their way at the bottom of crevices deep and solemn, terraces,
palisades, plateaus all jumbled together in riotous confusion-
that is Zion National Park.
The far-famed Yosemite National Park is in Eastern Central
California. No more romantic spot can be found. The
Merced River wends its way through a narrow valley between
towering mountains of granite over whose precipices leap
streams that lend charm to the landscape. Nevada Falls.
Yosemite Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls enhance the beauty of
the scene. The valley contains groves of the Sequoia red-
wood trees. Along the eight miles in length by less than a
mile wide, the valley is carpeted with grass and wild flowers
locked in by towering granite walls as though they were
battlements of eternity.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 33
Florida State Park System
TORREYA STATE PARK
You can see how Confederate soldiers, standing back of
their guns located in dugout emplacements, anxiously scanned
the Apalachicola River back in the days when the Indians
and "Yankee" gunboats were to be feared. As you stand
where the guns were located vistas of the river take you
back seventy years. These gun emplacements are located on
beautiful Battery or Neal's Bluff, overlooking the Apalachi-
cola River in the Torreya State Park. You can distinctly see
the communicating trenches between the six gun emplace-
ments, the observers' pits near each one of them, and the
old artillery road back of them.
However, if you are a lover of botany, you will be more
interested in the rare Torreya tree for which this park was
named. This evergreen tree is found only on the east side
of this river for a distance of approximately fifteen miles
north, and ten miles south of the park. It does not grow on
the west side of the river at all, and has been found but two
or three miles east of the river. This tree has a smaller range
than almost any other in the world. The fruit resembles an
olive; however, do not make the mistake of trying to bite
into it, or you will be treated to a strange taste which is
unpleasant. The odor will be found pleasant or unpleasant,
depending upon the preference of the individual. It was
discovered by Hardy Croom and was named for the famous
botanist. John Torrey. On the slopes of the hills or ridges
in the park, in the ravines, and along the river will also be
found the climax type of hardwood forests. This means little
to any one except a botanist, expressed this way; to the lay-
man it is the ultimate in tree growth. Needle palms, wild
hydrangeas, magnolia, holly, silver-bells, buckeye, lindens.
maples, loblolly, lowland spruce and longleaf pines, as well
as cypress, red and tupelo gums are abundant. Great num-
bers of shrubs and flowers are to be found here as well as
great masses of beautiful ferns.
The views from Logan Hill, Battery and Rock Bluffs are
inspiring, as they show the broad sweep of this mighty yellow
river and a magnificent view of the surrounding country. The
rugged topography in this park reminds one of the mountains
of Virginia, North Carolina or Tennessee. One can develop
34 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
a wonderful appetite by scrambling up the steep slopes. Rock
Creek, a beautiful clear stream, and a number of springs and
brooks add charm to the park.
On the bank of the river, at Rock Bluff Landing, is located
the old warehouse which housed many bales of cotton, great
quantities of tobacco, syrup and corn prior to the war. During
the war it was used to store military supplies and food for the
Confederate soldiers who guarded the river, which was the
main artery of travel.
The park is under construction but even now it is well
worth a visit. The old Gregory house, an old ante-bellum
plantation home, has been moved across the river and placed
in the park. It will be used to house the museum and from it
"plantation style" refreshments will be served. A caretaker's
house will be provided, also picnic facilities, outdoor fire-
places, trailside museums, benches, foot trails, roads, trail-
side shelters, camp grounds, and comfort facilities.
It may be reached by turning to the west off the paved
Bristol-Quincy Highway at a point eleven miles southeast of
Greensboro. Four miles on a good graded county road
brings one to Rock Bluff Post Office, and two miles more
on a scenic road takes one to the park. It is being developed
by the Florida Forest and Park Service, by means of a C. C. C.
camp, in cooperation with the State Park Division of the
National Park Service.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 35
GOLD HEAD BRANCH STATE PARK
The first sight which will greet your eyes as you enter
Gold Head Branch State Park from the new highway from
Middleburg to Keystone Heights, will be the head of the
ravine where Gold Head Branch flows from a series of springs.
You can drive right up to the head of the ravine and look
down into it sixty-five feet below. In the bottom you will
see beautiful palms, a great variety of flowers, and shrubs
and trees of a sub-tropical nature.
You can leave your car here and take foot trails down into
the bottom of the ravine, or you may continue your drive
along the edge of the ravine to the point where the mill dam
is being reconstructed and where it is planned to erect an
old water power, overshot wheel grist mill, to replace the
old mill which formerly stood there.
At this point you may also leave your car and walk up
the ravine or ramble through the lush growth on the area
where the Branch divides, and eventually goes into Lake
Johnson. Gold Head Branch itself is very beautiful, being
from three to ten feet in width, with sparkling clear water
flowing over a bed of pure white sand. At places it makes
sweet music as it gurgles through narrow places along its
course. As you follow on around to Lake Johnson you are
treated to, some of the beautiful vistas of this large body of
water, seen through traceries of Spanish moss and evergreen
foliage. When you get to the narrow saddle between Pebble
Lake and Lake Johnson you can leave your car or continue
on around Pebble Lake. In either event, you will be within
walking distance of the main use area where it is planned to
construct bathing facilities for both of these lakes, and also
to provide picnic shelters for visitors.
In order to get to the park from the town of Geneva, which
is on the State Highway between Palatka and Keystone
Heights, turn north at Geneva on a graded road until you
arrive at the C. C. C. camp located on the property. The
custodian of the property, will gladly show you the park or
take you to a good picnic area. Facilities will consist of bath
houses, picnic and trailer camp grounds, bridle trails, outdoor
fireplaces, trailside museum, boating, overnight cabins and
an outdoor auditorium, water and lights.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
This park is located in the beautiful sand hill lake region
of Florida, and to be appreciated it must be seen at various
seasons of the year, and various times of the day. It is
especially beautiful early in the morning or late in the evening,
when Pebble Lake, Sheeler Lake, and Lake Johnson are at
their best. When you come to this park do not forget to
bring your fishing equipment, as fishing is exceptionally good
in this territory. If you like to hike over rolling country, and
scramble up relatively steep slopes you can do so in this park.
If you like to botanize and to observe wildlife, you will find
these activities can be indulged in at Gold Head Branch.
This park is being developed by the Florida Forest and
Park Service, in cooperation with the State Park Division of
the National Park Service, by means of a C. C. C. camp, and
is well worth a visit.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 37
FORT CLINCH STATE PARK
The historical old fort. which guards the entrance to Cum-
berland Sound, along with twelve hundred acres of land has
recently been acquired for a State park by the Florida Forest
and Park Service. The construction of this fort was approved
by Jefferson Davis when he was Secretary of War prior to the
War Between the States.
The fort has numerous gun emplacements, underground
cisterns, a series of tunnels, old bakeshops, officers' quarters,
barracks, magazines, guardhouses, and supply houses. This
fort was started by the United States Government in 1847,
and $746.000 was spent on it by 1861. when it was seized
by the Florida authorities and occupied by the Third Regiment
of Florida Volunteers, Confederate Army. In 1863 it was
captured by Federal ships and troops. During the Spanish-
American War, Fort Clinch was again heavily garrisoned.
Fort Clinch is located on the north end of historic Amelia
Island, upon which the English and Portuguese are supposed
to have landed, 1497-1513. From this time on. the island
was explored by various persons among the first of whom
was Rene de Laudonnierre, followed by DeGourges, Fran-
ciscan missionaries, a force which constructed Fort San Carlos,
Spanish traders, Lord Oglethorpe. General Grant, General
Andrew Jackson. Gregor MacGregor (an adventurer intent
upon establishing an "independent republic" under the flag
of Venizuela). Luis Aury (a pirate who annexed the island
in the name of Mexico), the Federal and Confederate forces.
During this period flags of France. Spain. England. Venizuela,
Mexico, the United States, and the stars and bars of the
Confederacy and the "Jolly Roger" have been planted on
this island. There are rumors of pirates' gold being secreted
near old live oak trees and tales of piratical atrocities which
occurred on this island, as well as tales of slave smuggling.
Treasure hunting parties make frequent visits to this vicinity
findings are not divulged but occasionally some old Spanish
coins are exhibited.
You will enjoy rambling around and examining this pic-
turesque old fort. Many like to walk along the beach and
through the dunes and hammock along Cumberland Sound
and Amelia River. The shifting sand dunes are very pic-
turesque and the hammock, sub-tropical in nature, is a delight-
ful place to picnic. A mile and a half of sound and ocean
beach provide a delightful salt water playground.
38 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
A C. C. C. side camp has been allocated to develop the
property in cooperation with the State Park Division of the
National Park Service and to restore a part of the fort. It is
planned to use part of the fort for a museum, and portions
for sightseeing purposes. It is planned to provide a residence
for the caretaker, quarters for his assistants, and to construct
horseback riding facilities, foot trails, picnic grounds, trailer
camp grounds, outdoor fireplaces, bathing accommodations.
fishing camps and numerous other facilities for the comfort
and enjoyment of the public. The mile-long jetty extending
out into the ocean from this park makes an excellent fishing
You will enjoy standing on the ramparts of this historic
old structure and looking seaward, or across beautiful Cumber-
land Sound. To visit it, drive to the quaint, highly interest-
ing and charming city of Fernandina. The park adjoins the
city and is reached by crossing a short causeway. It is well
worth a visit.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 39
HILLSBOROUGH RIVER STATE PARK
The Hillsborough River flows serenely through most of its
length, but in the Hillsborough River State Park, it frolics
through two sets of rapids, and during periods of low water
the roar of the rapids is audible for a considerable distance
over the park area. The river itself is very beautiful, and
on the bottom can be seen turtles and the bedding places of
various fish, as well as the fish themselves. Poised in the
stream can be seen hundreds of the ferocious garfish, and if
one tarries to watch, occasionally he can witness a kill.
The growth along this river is marvelous beyond com-
parison. Graceful palms bend their trunks from the banks
in horizontal positions and gradually curve upward to support
feathery tufts of foliage. Other palms grow upon the banks
in gorgeous masses or stand silhouetted against the sky, or
are framed against the deep green foliage of live oaks and
gums or hickory. Ancient cypress trees with their interesting
"knees" are abundant. Giant live oaks and water oaks as
well as hickories, cedars and magnolias are plentiful. This
park lies between Zephyrhills and Thonotosassa on the new
Tampa-Dade City State Highway.
This park is being developed by the Florida Forest and
Park Service by means of a C. C. C. camp, in cooperation
with the State Park Division of the National Park Service.
The accommodations provided are picnic pavilion, a conces-
sion building, over-night cabins, trails, roads, picnic shelters,
open fireplaces, fishing, comfort facilities, water, light, and
suspension bridge. These facilities are now open for public
You will enjoy an outing or a visit to this park, especially
a walk along the beautiful Hillsborough River on the foot
trails which have been provided. Fishing is good in the river.
40 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
MYAKKA RIVER STATE PARK
Have you ever wanted to walk, ride a horse, or drive an
automobile through a forest of palm trees? Have you ever
wanted to lie beneath the shade of a wide spreading liveoak
tree garlanded with long heavy waving strands of Spanish
moss? Have you ever wanted to look across the broad
expanse of a river or lake and see in the distance waving
fronds of sub-tropical palms, and other vegetation which
ordinarily is only seen in tropical or sub-tropical countries?
If you have, in all probability you thought you would have
to go to Central America, to Hawaii, or perhaps to India.
However, you can do all of these things and many more
without leaving the United States. The Myakka River State
Park is located on a State property of over 26,000 acres, and
can be reached by driving to Sarasota or Arcadia, and taking
the old Sugar Bowl road to the point where it crosses the
beautiful Myakka River, or you may drive to Bradenton and
from there to the old town of Myakka, and thence to the
This area was selected for a park because the Myakka
River is one of the most beautiful in the State of Florida. Its
banks are fringed with thousands of cabbage palms inter-
spersed with many live oaks and other trees which grow in
sub-tropical climates. In addition to miles of the river, the
park includes the large Upper Myakka Lake and all of the
smaller Lower Lake. The latter, during extremely dry sea-
sons, disappears down a large hole which is known as the
The park is under construction by the Florida Forest and
Park Service, by means of a C. C. C. camp located on the
property. This camp was secured through the State Park
Division of the National Park Service. Five overnight cabins
have been erected for the accommodation of overnight
visitors. A combination building, consisting of a concession
and pavilion, sanitary facilities and a caretaker's house have
been constructed. Many miles of road have been developed
through this park, and outdoor cooking facilities, picnic tables,
picnic shelters, wayside shelters and many other conveniences
for the benefit of the public are built.
In addition to the trees to be found on this beautiful area,
the wild flowers are very abundant and a succession of colors
of various hues greets the visitors during each month of the
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 41
year. These flowers generally grow on the broad flood plains
of the river and occur in patches many acres in extent.
Wild life, particularly birds is very abundant. During
practically any day in the year vast flocks soar overhead, and
while riding or walking through the park great numbers of
birds of various species and color may be seen. The bird
life in this park is unusually varied, abundant and beautiful.
Other wild life native to south Florida is also to be found in
abundance. The lakes and river abound in game fish of
various species, as well as other types of fish, among which
are the too abundant killer gar. Turtles are also very
When you visit the Myakka River State Park do not fail
to see it at sunset, as by so doing you will take home with
you a mental picture which will be more vivid, and more
impressive than anything you have ever seen before. A
moonlight trip through the park is very delightful. The
project superintendent at the C. C. C. camp acts in the capacity
of park custodian, and he and his staff will gladly show you
through the park, and will courteously see that you secure
whatever accommodations you desire while you are there.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
HIGHLANDS HAMMOCK STATE PARK
If you have visited Florida heretofore, no doubt you have
felt the desire to get right into one of the wonderful sub-
tropical hammocks which are found in this State. If you have
never visited Florida, you will no doubt experience this
desire, as you drive or ride through the State. For the
information of the uninitiated, a hammock, in the parlance
of the native Floridian, is a growth of hardwood trees. This
term is used in order to distinguish hardwood growth from
pine growth. There are high dry hammocks and low wet
ones. The low wet ones usually support sub-tropical growth,
and because of their tangled density and the water are
seldom gone into unless one has business there, and then only
if suitably clothed. Due to the richness of the soil in these
low hammocks they are in great demand for truck garden
purposes, and for this reason Florida's hammocks have been
gradually disappearing. However, through the foresight of
an association of interested and energetic persons, and
through the generosity of the late Mrs. John A. Roebling
and her husband, Highlands Hammock was secured and
developed into a park, and was then presented to the State.
It is six miles from Sebring.
In this park you can see a laurel oak which is thirty-one
feet in girth, and also liveoaks which are almost a thousand
years old. In order for you to come in intimate contact with
the cypress swamps, board walks are provided, so that you
may walk in safety out among the cypress trees, among their
You can drive to Highlands Hammock by going to Sebring.
and thence west on the Sebring-Zolfo Springs road, or you
may come in from Zolfo Springs over a road which is now
The rules in this park are very simple, and have mainly to
do with the protection of the park from fire, and for the
protection of the growth from damage. The employes who
look after the property will very courteously show it to you.
or if you wish to ramble around unattended, you are at perfect
liberty to do so. Comfort facilities are found on the area,
and picnicking is encouraged at the picnic areas. An admis-
sion fee of 35 cents per car and driver and 15 cents for each
additional passenger is charged to enter the park. Pedestrians,
cyclists, and students studying the park are admitted free.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 43
The dominant idea in developing and maintaining High-
lands rammock is that the area and its wild life shall be
undisturbed, insofar as possible, in making the area accessible
and usable. You will thoroughly enjoy and never forget your
visit to Highlands Hammock State Park.
VOLUSIA HAMMOCK STATE PARK
Volusia Hammock State Park is about 10 miles north of
Daytona, on the main highway (U. S. 1) and is bordered by
the historic, beautifully scenic Halifax and Tomoka rivers.
The majority of the area consists of a dense hammock growth
and scattered palms and will afford splendid opportunity for
the development of recreational facilities. It is especially
adapted for all water activities.
44 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
SUWANNEE RIVER STATE PARK
Suwannee River State Park is situated near Ellaville, in
Suwannee County, in the famed Suwannee River section of
the State. Some ten miles north of Live Oak, it is accessible
from the Old Spanish Trail, and is picturesque and pleasing
to the eye.
FLORIDA CAVERNS STATE PARK
A park which has not been much advertised but is rapidly
coming into prominence is the Florida Caverns State Park,
near Marianna, in Jackson County. This park is in the lime-
stone region of Northwest Florida, and the caverns, about
which little was known until recently, are being visited by an
increasing number of persons. This park is reached from
the Old Spanish Trail (U. S. 90). It is now being developed
by the Florida Forest and Park Service in cooperation with
the National Park Service by a C. C. C. camp.
PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS OF FLORIDA 45
OLUSTEE MONUMENT AND STATE PARK
Olustee Monument, built on the battlefield of the greatest
engagement of Union and Confederate forces in Florida, is
in Olustee State Park (part of Osceola National Forest), in
Baker County. right on the Old Spanish Trail (U. S. 90).
Its historical interest makes it worth a visit.
PORT ST. JOE STATE PARK
This smallest of Florida's State Parks is located on the site
of the long-vanished town of Port St. Joe. A granite shaft
suitably inscribed stands on the site of the convention hall
where the first constitution of the State of Florida was brought
Not a single building of the once prosperous seaport of
old Port St. Joe stands, but some of the old Belgian block
pavements still can be described. A hurricane and a yellow
fever epidemic nearly 100 years ago destroyed one, the great
wharf and warehouses on the waterside, and the other filled
graveyards with the townspeople.
A new Port St. Joe stands on another site a few miles away.
Port St. Joe State Park is reached over State Highway
No. 10 (U. S. 98), and State Highway No. 6.
Olustee Monument and State Park and Port St. Joe State
*Park are not considered State Parks in the larger sense, but
rather as monuments and are not under the administration
of the Florida Forest and Park Service but receive direct
legislative appropriations and are controlled by the Board
of State Institutions.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
HISTORIC GAMBLE MANSION
Another historic spot owned and maintained by the State
is Gamble Mansion and its grounds at Ellenton in Manatee
County on the Tamiami Trail (U. S. 41). This century-old
colonial home was the center of a 3.000-acre plantation whose
300 slaves were used mostly to grow sugarcane which was
made into crude sugar and this shipped by schooner to New
Orleans to be refined. It was here that Judah P. Benjamin,
secretary of state of the Confederacy, refugee after the fall
of the Confederacy, and began his journey to England via
the Bahamas to spend the remaining years of his life. The
old mansion, fully restored, is a museum in which is kept
valuable relics of the Confederacy and of ante-bellum days.
SOME NOTABLE SPRINGS NOT DESCRIBED
Among notable Florida springs are:
Weekiwachee. in Hernando County. reached via State Road
No. 15 (U. S. 19).
Rainbow Springs, in Marion County, a few miles north of
Dunnellon, on State Road No. 5 (U. S. 41).
Green Cove Springs, at the town of the same name in Clay
County, on State Highway No. 48.
DeFuniak Springs, in town of the same name, Walton
County, on Old Spanish Trail (U. S. 90).
OTHER INTERESTING PLACES
Among other interesting places deserving of mention are
McKee Jungle Gardens at Vero Beach, and Cypress Gardens
near Winter Haven. In both instances man has capitalized on
the beauties of Nature and aided in creating places of wonder-
ful interest and beauty.
McKee Jungle Gardens, situated in Indian River County,
is easily reached from State Highway One (U. S. I), the main
highway between Jacksonville and Miami. Cypress Gardens
is in Polk County, a few miles from Winter Haven and only
a short distance from famed Bok Singing Tower. It can be
reached from State Highway 7 (U. S. 92), over any one
of several local paved roads.