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A Return to Cypress Creek

The last time we visited Cypress Creek Natural Area, we were thrilled to explore part of its 2000 acres of newly restored sensitive pine forest and wetland habitats. We were even more ecstatic to learn of the county’s continued aggressive preservation and restoration efforts of the area.

Restored Everglades Vista of Cypress Creek Natural Area in Jupiter, Florida

Part of the Northeast Everglades Natural Area (or NENA, which holds approximately 165,000 acres of conservation land in northern Palm Beach Country and southern Martin County), and serving as a buffer for the Loxahatchee Wild and Scenic River, Cypress Creek is a valuable part of the Everglades ecosystem. Managed by Palm Beach County, current restoration activities in Cypress Creek include the removal of invasive non-native vegetation, filling miles of ditches (we continue to witness these efforts), changing the elevations of shell mining pits to encourage re-vegetation of native plants, and improving the Old Indiantown Road grade β€” now known as the Historic Jupiter-Indiantown Trail β€” for use as a multi-use trail.

Cypress Creek’s restored Everglades habitat

A Great egret in the restored Everglades habitat of Cypress Creek: I see your brightness, fella

Cypress Creek’s restored Everglades habitat

We recently hiked a different section of Cypress Creek, and saw loads of animal tracks due to the fact that not many humans probably make it out to where we ventured β€” deer, coyote, bobcat, wild boar. It was a wonderful sight to see, and I hope that the county continues it preservation efforts to protect this critical and threatened habitat, returning it to its full splendor…and providing a home for the wildlife once again. It’s wonderful to witness!

The remnants (slash pines) of a controlled (?) burn

Wading friends: A cattle egret and tricolored heron were inseparable

Overlooking the restored Everglades habitat: We need to get over THERE. Trail was flooded, however… We made it, but it was dicey and involved lots of high-steppin’ through the swamp

Gator check… Good to go. OK for foto session.

Wonderful old live oak canopies of Cypress Creek Natural Area

44 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pam #

    Beautiful! Love these special places!

    September 24, 2012
    • It’s such a wonderful area… And we’re over-the-moon thrilled to see such active restoration efforts!!! πŸ™‚

      September 24, 2012
  2. David Alliot #

    Getting “over there” looks pretty hard.

    September 24, 2012
  3. It is so good to see local governments actively restoring and preserving habitat. On Vancouver Island a great many areas have been changed dramatically through the introduction of such non-native plants as scotch broom, and most restoration seems to be left up to special interest groups rather than governments. Beautiful photos and a beautiful place. Makes me want to visit Florida again.

    Terry

    September 24, 2012
    • Thanks so very much! Although, I fear my photos don’t do this place justice by any means…

      We’re over-the-moon thrilled at the county’s expansive and aggressive restoration work. It’s a rare sight, in this area of concrete jungle and wayward development. This area was completely devastated with mining, logging, you name it β€” and to see it restored to its natural Everglades beauty really does warm the soul. Especially for such an endangered habitat! As you say β€” it’s usually up to special interest groups to attend to such matters. I do hope this tide is turning, however…

      You’re in such a wonderful place β€” my absolute favorite. Anytime you’d like to swap, please just holler, hahah!

      September 24, 2012
  4. Thank you for taking me along to a place I didn’t get a chance to visit when I lived in Florida (I was stationed at Patrick AFB FL 2001-2005). What a gorgeous area – love seeing the great egrets and it’s great to know they are doing restoration of these precious areas. When I traveled in Florida I was really alarmed at the rate of development and growth in the wild areas. You are so cute btw lol!

    September 24, 2012
    • Ah, you were up in Brevard! Lots of gorgeous areas there, too β€” but you were probably a wee bit busy! πŸ™‚

      We’re beyond thrilled at their expansive and aggressive restoration work. This area was completely devastated with mining, logging, you name it β€” and to see it restored to its natural Everglades beauty really does warm the soul. Especially for such an endangered habitat! Like you say β€” the developers down here tend to be FAR out of control, to put it politely. Way too much power. And β€” you’re so very sweet to comment on my appearance, especially after 4 hours in 90-plus heat, hehhhh…

      September 24, 2012
      • UR too cool for school, FG! Never mind the heat.

        September 24, 2012
      • Hee hee!! You’re sweet. β™₯

        September 25, 2012
      • hee hee–you two are poets, and I knows it!

        September 25, 2012
  5. Wow! Now this looks like my kind of place! Great series of photos and your writing brought me along for the ride! Loved the prerequisite “gator check” before portraits can be taken. πŸ™‚

    September 24, 2012
    • You would *love* these areas, judging by your own work!!

      And of course, you would also do the prerequisite gator checks… hahahha! I nearly stumbled on a big baby on this hike, too. πŸ™‚

      September 24, 2012
  6. we were just talking this morning about visiting the everglades again this winter when we get back into Florida, it is a great place, and as you point out, getting greater.

    September 24, 2012
    • Winter is DEFINITELY the ideal time to visit…! πŸ™‚ We just can’t go more than a week without hiking or Nature, so have to suffer the heated blasts.

      Thank goodness there are now more massive efforts being done (and money being pumped in) β€” the knowledge is now there, at the mistakes that were made in destroying this unique (as in ONLY) ecosystem, and altering this landscape.

      September 25, 2012
  7. Curious, given the pressure on local government by developers, etc., what’s the impetus for aggressive restoration projects on the local level. Also, agree with Saymber… cute photo.

    September 24, 2012
    • Well, in this particular case, the land was acquired in the ’90s with funds from the 1991 Environmentally Sensitive Lands Bond Referendum. Funding came from the 1999 Lands for Conservation Purposes Bond Issue Referendum, and matching funds arrived from the Florida Communities Trust.

      The land borders a state park and another large park β€” Jonathan Dickinson and Riverbend (both which I’ve written about, under Natural Areas / State & National Parks). Perhaps that’s why there was such a push, here.

      But in other cases? There’s recently been an influx of funds to restore the Everglades β€” habitats that were destroyed and landscapes that were altered by crops and habitation. So, HOORAH! Here’s to hoping that more such preservation and restoration will be occurring soon….

      September 25, 2012
      • Thanks for the detailed response. Once upon a time I was Executive Director of the Planning and Conservation League of California. I know how difficult it is to restore parklands. I agree… HOORAH.

        September 27, 2012
      • Oh wow! FASCINATING! I bet you have some great stories…

        This info I partly pulled from their brochure (the laws)… There are so many particulars though. But recently in our area, much $$’s been pumped in to restore the devastated lands that were former Everglades. FANTASTIC news. πŸ™‚

        September 28, 2012
  8. wow …. this is beautiful …. the whole issue
    the places are marvelous …. people seeing and living beside such beauty sure have beautiful souls and calm inside.
    and yes ,,,, cute photo …. greetings ….. many thanks for sharing.

    September 24, 2012
    • Thanks so very much!!

      I do hope that these preservation and restoration efforts will only continue to grow, grow, GROW! Not just here, but throughout the world. We’re not the only ones with disappearing threatened ecosystems….

      September 25, 2012
      • hope so,,, so many places in need of such effort ,,, restoring nature balance.

        September 26, 2012
  9. What’s that wild animal in the blue camisole and capris?

    September 24, 2012
    • Heee!! It’s native to the Everglades area… A rare but slightly overheated periwinkle-backed-pale-legged-warbler!

      September 25, 2012
      • I KNEW you were a good birdwatcher!

        September 25, 2012
      • Hee hee!!! πŸ™‚

        September 25, 2012
      • Love it! We have lots of pale-legged warblers here in Oregon too. I hear they’re rare and endangered species in Florida though. πŸ˜‰

        September 25, 2012
      • Hahaah! You know, we are a bit endangered here… Demands much sunscreen on these long hikes, poor things. The PNW weather is MUCH more accommodating to these creatures’ appearance!

        September 26, 2012
  10. “Gator check”….smart girl! What a beautiful area – glad to know that the animals have that as a home. ❀

    September 24, 2012
    • Exactly!! We were SO happy to spy so many animal prints. The last time we were in that area (provided in the link), we saw fresh PANTHER prints, woo-hoo!! Just wonderful.

      Gator checks = ALWAYS a must in our (yours + my) areas! Especially if one wants to go to the water’s edge… πŸ™‚

      September 25, 2012
  11. What a beautiful area! I enjoyed your photos and description. If it weren’t for the ‘gators, I’d want to hike there myself. πŸ˜†

    September 24, 2012
    • Oh, you’d love it! We’re so happy to see these Everglades areas returned to their original splendor. And, you’d get accustomed to the gators, too β€” once you understand a critter’s movements and workings (as much as possible, at least), the fear element is eliminated.

      Besides, like I’ve said… You have bears! Hah!

      September 25, 2012
  12. Wonderful pics of you and your space! Since you mentioned alligators, I have to ask – how do you “check” for them? This is important, because without any intent at all, I landed at the Anuhuac Wildlife Refuge about two hours from home, on Sunday. It’s filled with birds, bobcat, alligator – and snakes! Nearly stepped on one. But if I’m going to start hanging out in such places, I need to know how to be safe – and being safe about alligators seems like a good place to start!

    September 24, 2012
    • Thanks so much… And REALLY great question… Wise!

      If you go to my toolbar above, you’ll see a heading called “Wildlife.” I have articles on all kinds of local critters in there, and posts at the top of each.

      For Alligators, take a peek β€” I have many posts on how to hike around them, what to look for (their mounds, etc) β€” lots of that type of info. Believe me, they want nothing to do with you, as long as you don’t get near their young’uns.

      For Snakes, ditto β€” how to tell the difference b/w venomous and non-venomous water snakes, etc, with the posts at the top. Most of ours are harmless, though. πŸ™‚

      Good luck! And hopefully you’ll see some of these other guys. Oh β€” and be aware of the wild boar. They’re icky non-native BIG beasties! Blah.

      September 25, 2012
  13. It’s so good to read about restoration efforts like that! Makes me wonder though why we don’t do more conservation in the first place.

    September 25, 2012
    • EXACTLY. We were so ecstatic to see these massive efforts, and I gotta say the county is trying to preserve / restore similar areas. But developers still have a firm hold β€” perhaps not as strong as they did, but the damage has already been done. At least there’s more education and activism towards protecting this endangered habitat from short-sighted greed and / or misinformed altering of the landscape to suit human habitation.

      September 25, 2012
  14. Love it ! Gator check? 2,000 acres. How do you even begin to discover all the nooks and crannies of that place? You may want to take some bear spray next time just in case. πŸ™‚

    September 25, 2012
    • You totally nailed it!!

      The first time we visited, we were out for 5 hours and only saw a bit of an entirely different section (that led to a state park)… This section was still being worked on, bits of it at least, so it was totally abandoned. Woo-hoooo!

      ALWAYS a gator check… ALWAYS!! πŸ™‚

      September 26, 2012
  15. Great looking place – who could not love this place!!!

    September 25, 2012
    • Exactly!! The thought that it was all razed to the ground at one point, totally stripped (I’m trying to find an old picture) is mind-boggling….

      September 26, 2012
  16. J. #

    Can I just say, I love your life and the beauty you surround yourself with. πŸ™‚

    September 26, 2012
    • What a supremely kind thing to say…! My utmost desire with this blog is to show the beauty of this land and its residents, and your comment reinforces that for me. πŸ™‚

      September 27, 2012
  17. Gorgeous! But then again, you already knew that, didn’t you?

    November 7, 2012
    • πŸ™‚ It really is a magnificent area… Beyond thrilled that the county was able to protect it, and that it’s doing such an amazing job to preserve/return it to its original grandeur!

      November 13, 2012

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