Tuesday, August 02, 2005
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 R.Powers at 9:18 PM