Myakka River State Park Visit

Published: March 12th 2014
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March 10th – Myakka Park

On Monday we visited Myakka River State Park, one of the oldest and largest parks in Florida. The river itself is designated a Wild and Scenic River. The park is a wildlife sanctuary, not a zoo or a botanical garden, so it is not outwardly beautiful, and animal sightings are not guaranteed.

We took both the guided boat tour and the tram tour and we learned a lot about the native plants and animals as well as the history of the area. Originally, the 28,000-acre tract was a fertile prairie, ideal for cattle ranching. Today, due to various factors, most involving human intervention, the area is quite different. So now the State of Florida has several programs in place to either reverse the changes or at least maintain the status quo. There are still some prairie and floodplain areas, but also hammocks of live oaks and palm trees, and, as we climbed in elevation to 300 feet, we were surrounded by tall pine trees.

On the boat tour, we, of course, saw alligators, as well as lots of native birds. Most interesting to us were the wild pigs brought first by the Spanish in the 1500’s and later by the British. Another interesting detail: lichen grows only in non-polluted areas, so our guide told us to breathe deeply of this pure air.

The Canopy Walk, an 85-foot long suspension bridge, leads to a tower where high above the treetops, we could see for miles.

It was a beautiful day.

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