Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Old Cross Florida Barge Canal and The New Cross Florida Greenway

(Flounder lovers, I just called the vet and he is doing great! I'm going in to get him and bring him home in a few minutes ... thanks for all the doggy well wishes yesterday.)
Drift to PFHQ, Drift to PFHQ!
In Florida, we pride ourselves on our ability to focus rainfall with pinpoint accuracy.
This photo was taken from atop the Cross Florida Barge Canal bridge on US-19. The road looks flat, but I'm at the crest of the very high bridge.
Canal bank.

You may not be familiar with the now defunct (Thank you Mr. Nixon) Cross Florida Barge Canal. It was a mostly 1960's era project designed to connect natural waterways by manmade canals so that coal from Alabama could be shipped across the Gulf of Florida to power plants on the east coast.

The canal was a bad idea for the environment of Florida and especially for our water supply which flows underground through the spongey limestone like that above.
It was halted by President Nixon, but not before canal lands were bought, dams built, and some canal dug.

This is a view of an existing portion of the canal, again taken from the top of the US-19 bridge. We're looking west. That's the Gulf at the end of the canal.

Rails to trails ... er, canals to trails.
Now that the canal is defunct, the lands along each side are being turned into a linear park called the Cross Florida Greenway. It's about 90,000 acres of long skinny park and it's still in the progress of "becoming".

After the storm, looking west from under the bridge.

It had rained just before I pulled off the highway yesterday to check out the boat ramp below the US-19 bridge, but the gloom added a nice effect to the bridge. It was early evening and I seemed to be the only person in the park. The park trail runs along this canalway for about 5 miles to the Gulf. An access road also follows the trail so you can drive down, which is nice if you plan to launch a canoe or kayak directly into the Gulf marshes. Along the way there's pavillions to picnic at, a restroom about midway, and a canoe/kayak launch at the Gulf end.

I don't have a fishing kayak (YET!), but my canoe has already expressed interest in launching into the marshes here.

The facilities info is from the park brochure, as I have not explored this relatively new park yet, but you know I will. This would be a better fall or winter walk so I think I'll wait to walk the trail. The heat and humidity will be down and the migrant birds will be up after summer passes ... sometime in November.

Seacow Safety Sign.

The dock in the distance is the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission station.

The small, but nice boat ramp (for Manly boats with motors) is in good shape and may experience my boat trailer today ... depending on Flounder dog's needs. The actual boat ramp is to the right and not shown in this picture. The tide was out at the time of my visit and there were blue crabs everywhere in the clear, shallow water.

Hmmmmm. I need to find some string and some chicken necks.


Ya' never been crabbin'?

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debbie said...

I am so jealous, it looks like you got rain. We have not had a decent rain in months. Just a couple of little splatters here and there. Our plants and yards are toasted. The rain will probably start next weekend since that's when my St. George Island vacation begins.

Floridacracker said...

Okay, my turn to be jealous ... St.George Island is beautiful.

Unfortunately, my yard is toasted too, that rain was not at MY place.

Ava said...

Great picture of the rain! We're getting some rain today, but our poor crops need more!

pissed off patricia said...

I'm so happy that Flounder didn't flounder during his vet visit. I bet he will sure be glad to get back home. I hear hospital food is awful.

We are getting the rain and have been off and on for a couple of days. There's more to come too. The Cuban tree frogs are having a grand old time calling to one another beneath my kitchen window. We're all pretty happy about all this water. I'll send some your way if I can.

robin andrea said...

Glad that Flounder is coming home all fixed up. That's great news.

That canal looks like a good place for a hike or bike ride. What a nice place to be out and about.

I haven't ever been crabbin' but I have been crabby.

edifice rex said...

Yeah, I've been crabbin'!! It was soo fun! When my oldest brother was alive he lived in Mobile, right on the bay (Fairhope side) and we caught a cooler full one time. He and our other brother were going to be manly and cook them so they got the water ready and opened the cooler; those crabs must have known what was coming 'cause they just exploded out of there and made a mad dash for the patio door! Crabs were going everywhere and we all had pot lids and big spoons trying to beat them back into the pot or cooler. Poor things.. but they tasted good.

Momadness said...

Lovely photos, esp canal bank, rails to trails and under the bridge; also enjoy the learning experience of your posts. Thinking of Flounder!!!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Well, sure, but we use fish heads or cow entrails. (Our crabs are bigger than your crabs. Ho ho.)

ImagineMel said...

When I used to travel that way A LOT to Dunedin, I thought that bridge was the coolest thing ever. It seemed so big and dramatic just out in the middle of nowhere. My Grandma & Grandpa Mueller are buried just past there at Red Level. Did you see the article in the Citizen about Lebanon Station?
Sad but true, my Grandpa had a heart attack and died at that junction in the road. So, that little park there now is a fitting tribute to him. Saw dolphins at CK today and thought of you! They are soooooo cool. We're all glad Flounder is alright.

ImagineMel said...

Oops, it was in the Journal, not the Citizen. Did you just stop in the middle of 19 for the pic?

Floridacracker said...

It's raining all around me today, but not here ... yet. The radar looks good tho.

It may just be arriving. There's a dark sky and lots of thunder, no rain here yet.
I think my Mom has a Cuban treefrog living around her goldfish pond. Huge with big eyes.
Hey, I had a gopher laying eggs in my flower bed today.

Flounder is sleeping on the kitchen floor with a full stomach. We are babying him :)
I think this trail will be wonderful to walk this fall.

Edifice Rex,
That is such a funny visual. Sounds like a meal to remember.

Thanks for sending Flounder good vibes. He's doing great.

Yours are bigger, but ours are meaner.
Cow entrails???

No, I didn't see the Journal article, but I guess I need to.
Flounder is peachy keen.
Steer with one hand, shoot pictures with the other at 60 mph over a bridge.

ImagineMel said...

ok...that's what I was afraid of. ;) I'm just jealous; I'm not that talented.

cathy S. said...

So glad Flounder is doing well. The greenway is a great thing for our state. Lemons turned to lemonade. I have a deep desire to ride my horse over the Greenway bridge that crosses the interstate. My friends think I am nuts but what a tale to tell. (Unless I get bucked off and land on my head in the middle of 75!) Perhaps I am destined to be squashed by a semi. I do live life on the edge. Ha Ha!

Floridacracker said...

It's part of the doasIsaynotasIdo philosophy.

Cathy S,
Flounder is doing well and Feather is happy her brother is back.
That horse ride would be neat. This bit of greenway is right in my back yard and I'd never bothered to pull over and check it out before yesterday.

SophieMae said...

Great spot! We first 'discovered' it in March on our way home from New Port Richey. But it was late in the day and we had many miles to go before we slept, so exploration was limited. Beautiful pictures! Hope that rain made it to PFHQ.

Leslie said...

Looks like an exceptionally nice park. I'd be exploring it, too, if I lived nearby. Atlanta has a "rails to trails" trail called the Silver Comet Trail that's real nice. Too crowded in the city but nice farther out past the suburbs. Great for bicycling, dog walking (after the toes are healed), and inline skating. I only do the old fashioned four wheel skating, myself.

Floridacracker said...

The rain got sooooooo close yesterday ... soooo close. Maybe today will be the day ... maybe I should paint something outside, that should guarantee rain here :)
Yup, this is a park I want to spend some time exploring.

We (surprisingly) have a pretty good new system of rails to trails in the area, but we are so rural, it hasn't been discovered really, so you usually have it to yourself.

I like 4-wheel drive too.

Anonymous said...

Okay...I admit..I have been a lurker for awhile..but when you posted these photos I thought...dang that looks familar!!! I have been fishing off those banks and taken a few of those canals out to the Gulf with my husband to fish and photograph wild husband will be heading out to Ozello today....if the water isn't too fish in the gulf until he needs a flashlight to find his way home ;)...just sending a neighborly hey ;)

Anonymous said...

P.S. If you get a chance...check out my Florida wildlife photos at my place

you may see some familar places also ;)

Floridacracker said...

Welcome to Pure Florida and thanks for delurking.
I love the comments and respond to each one I find.
Ozello is a beautiful spot, I don't blame him for staying as long as possible.
I'm heading to your site right now.