Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Big Cypress


One last cypress theme shot. This is how we got around down in Big Cypress National Preserve back in the 80's. I was still dry at this point, but that didn't last long.

The "swamp buggy" was probably once the property of a south Florida poacher/drug smuggler. Vehicles forfeited in those types of legal cases are sometimes sold at auction, but sometimes they get new green paint and a new life as Park Service workhorses. I am not very mechanical, but my impression is they are high maintenance vehicles.

On this day we were heading out to burn down a hunt camp that was squatting on park lands. The park was only about 10 years old at the time and the locals were having a hard time adjusting to not being able to just do what ever they wanted in Big Cypress. Building hunt camps on land that wasn't theirs to begin with was a common practice. Before the park, most of this land was owned by New York types who had bought swampland unseen. The real owners were never around, so the locals did as they pleased...until the Park Service became the new owner.

After the park was created, the camp owners had a few years to use their camps and then the Park Service would remove or destroy them. Camps ranged from old DC-3 airplane fusilages to shacks to old trailers. If they were near a road (most were not) they were dismantled, but most were burned in place.

We were not very popular with the local populace...

Posted by Picasa

9 comments:

pablo said...

are you on the left or the right? I can't tell.

Floridacracker said...

Pablo,
Very observant. I had Walmart digitize some of my old slides and they reversed them. I don't carry my gun on the left side.
I knew somebody observant would catch the reversal.

Hick said...

I never knew that there was any truth to the old line..."And if you believe that...I've got some swamp land in Florida I can sell you" Of course, the New Yorkers can get back at the Florida Salesmen by selling them a bridge...heh!

What do the hunters hunt? Birds, gators...naive New Yorkers?

Floridacracker said...

Hick,
Big Cypress is about 500,000 acres and a big chunk of this was inaccessible 2 acre submerged lots that unsuspecting folks up north had bought sight unseen. The Park Service had to contact each owner and purchase (emminent domain) the lots.
As for game in the area, there were lots of deer and hog, plus small game.
...New Yorkers were strictly catch and release.

kevin said...

Too bad about the catch and release. I think a few trophy's above my fireplace. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Nice uniform! ;)

RiceandCanes said...

Buggies sure are one heck of means of transportation in the cypress.

Sure must have been nice not having to walk in that water ,huh?
How much patrolling can one do on foot out there? None.
Never seen one on yet.

Josh Hutcheson said...

The park service took over and destroyed more history than all others and in a hell of a lot less time do you knoe why the snakes took over cause the park service wiped out the hogs with chopper hunts and that was the only snake control there was the park service are evil people there are oarts of the glades that will never be seen agian thanks a lot

Aaron Albert said...

NPS has no business managing Big Cypress. They have proved time and time again that they are incompetent. The reason why the Florida Everglades have been decimated by non native invasive species is because of the lack of Management by the National Park Service.