August Weekend
Short Story


Its August, the first weekend open after the closed period in the Big Cypress National Preserve. The rains of summer have been filling the Big Cypress Swamp. A good job the rains have done too, because it is very wet out there right now. Even some of the pine and palmetto islands have water in them. At least the mosquitoes are not as bad as they were in June.
It was nice to see some other sportsmen out enjoying the weekend. We passed other buggies and sportsmen/women on the designated trail. Of course this is going to be a common occurrence in the future, as we all will have to use the same trails.

Following a traditional trail in the Big Cypress Swamp
This is how Swamp Buggies got their name

It was just back in February that the Naples News was reporting that the Big Cypress National Preserve personnel were celebrating the death of the last Melaleuca Tree. A celebration may have been in order, because they have made great strides in removing the melaleuca from the Big Cypress Swamp. But those of us that are familiar with the melaleuca tree, know better then to say the last one is dead. In the picture to the right are a few young melaleuca trees that are growing next to the designated trail. These two trees are not lonely, because as the next picture shows they have friends that are spreading out on the prairie.

Now is a good time for the NPS to start plucking these little guys out of the ground. Catch them when they are small and before they go to seed is the best time to remove them. I did see one of those little guys with blossoms on it, unusual, but there it was. The Blossom is the start of the seed development, so it won't be long and they will be spreading quite a bit. If the NPS lets them get a foot hold again, they may have to spend another 3.5 million to get rid of them.



Melaleuca spreading throughout a prairie

As we were going to camp, we came upon this little button buck out on Buckskin prairie. Being a young deer, he seems to still be developing his self preservation skills. He seemed more curious about us then he should have been. I hope he learns be a little quicker to run off before hunting season arrives.  Being a button buck, he should have another year to smarten up, before someone tries to invite him home for dinner.

Standing out in the middle of a prairie at ten o'clock in the morning makes you wonder how smart he's going to be when he grows up.


Where did all this water come from?
Button Buck on Buckskin Prairie

I don't know how many of you have heard, but the Florida Wildlife Magazine is coming to its end. The subscriptions to the magazine never quite paid its way and it was subsidized by extra funding. Now the legislators, (that we voted into office), have decided that the magazine is not needed any more. So the extra funding is gone and now the magazine will be gone. Our loss..................................!

Story by Steve - August, 2003