Springtime in the Big Cypress 2008

 My son once told me that my (this) website, at least the stories part was like a blog. I told what I was doing on my trips to the Big Cypress Swamp, rather then having just a web site about the Big Cypress Swamp. He is right, I do write about things I see and happenings on trips, its my way of documenting nature, things that affect the swamp and when they happen. A lot of the ole timers in the swamp have done the same thing by keeping logs of their trips. The difference is I am making my log public on the internet and I guess that is what a blog is, a log of happenings or subjects published on the internet.

A true blog is such that people can read the blog and make comments back, by clicking on a link that allows them to comment and have it appear below the content of the page. I have considered this, but with that comes a time consuming responsibility to monitor the blog and remove offensive language or inappropriate subject matter, time that I don't want to spend responding to people that are irresponsible about their comments, so this website is not a true blog.

I will say that on the main start page is a link to email me and people from time to time do that. I don't remember ever getting a negative email, most people that take the time to email me, have been complimentary of the site and have enjoyed the Big Cypress Swamp at some point of their life and have fond memories of that time. A few have sent me stories of their time in the Big Cypress and I have added those stories, to the story page. Anyone is welcome to email me and share their good times in the Big Cypress Swamp.

Everglades Conservation & Sportsmen Club Swamp buggy picture
Pine Forest is Dying
In the Little Deer area of the Big Cypress Swamp, vast areas of the pine forest have pine trees that are dying. My theory is that many of the trees have been weakened by hurricane Wilma and fires, both wild and the prescriptive burns set by the NPS are stressing the trees more then they can tolerate. This is allowing the Pine Beatles to attack the trees and the result is an extensive die off of trees.
The character of the pine forest areas of the Big Cypress Swamp are changed when all the pine trees are gone. They become palmetto forests, with no shade and pretty much devoid of animal life. It takes many years for new pine trees to grow from seed and take on the look of a mature pine forest.

Sahara Club Blunder
Panther Tracks
Still have Panthers making tracks around Camp SixPack
I know! I show a lot of panther tracks on my web site, but its to make a point, especially after recent accusations made by a local Sahara Club spokesman, originating in the Los Angeles Times newspaper. Why they went to California to get a newspaper to publish such miss-information about Florida is probably because the local newspapers know not to put too much weight in what this particular spokesmen says.
Anyhow this spokesmen was saying that "ORVs chase panthers from the swamp and that causes them to be run into the road and get hit by cars". Incredible statement with no scientific facts, to base it on. The Sahara Club should be embarrassed to have this guy talking for them.
So to set the record straight, in my experience, Panthers have been around ORVs and backwoods camps in the Big Cypress Swamp, for longer then the 40 years I have been visiting the Big Cypress. We continually see tracks and occasionally see a panther in an area of the Big Cypress Swamp that has high ORV use and a dozen or so back woods camps. No panthers being displaced here! Like any wild animal, they will move out of sight when close to humans, but they are not chased out of an area by ORVs or encounters with people. That is demonstrated by all the tracks around the camps and in the ORV trails and that is why I show them.

Smoky Evening from Prescribed Burn at Little Deer Airstrip in April
A large prescribed burn east of Little Deer Airport causes a smoky evening for us at camp. It does create a unusual colorful sunset. I'm not wild about them doing prescribed burns immediately after the Turkey Mating season. The turkey hens are still nesting during this time and eggs can't run from a fire.

Racoon in a Tree
Treed Raccoon Close up

Treed Coon up a Spindle Tree
Its been a long time since I have seen a Raccoon along the trail to SixPack. Most of them have been eaten by Panthers in the Big Cypress Swamp. This young coon was by the buggy trail and quickly climbed a little spindly tree. Maybe they have learned a Panther can't climb a tree this small and that is the coon's way of not becoming a meal.

Short Video to Give You an Idea how little the Tree was

Story By Steve  May 20, 2008