After my visit to the Heritage Center, I continued on to Folkston and the East Entance to the National Wildlife Refuge. I got to use my National Parks Senior Pass!! If you are over 65 and don’t have one, you need to look into it. I’ve used mine a lot over the past 4 years.
First stop was an hour and a half boat ride on the Suwannee Canal, which was built in 1889, as an attempt to create an route to the St. Mary’s River in north Florida. They gave up after it proved too difficult. Then they decided to log the area and kept it up until the company went bankrupt in 1897. Old growth cypress continued to be logged until 1927. Most of what is seen along the Suwannee Canal today is second growth cypress. All of which proves that even State and National Parks are not always protected as they should be.
It was a beautiful day, only in the high 70’s and sunny and a very enjoyable boat ride. Our guide was knowledgable and entertaining. The time passed very swiftly. Wildlife see: many, many alligators; two types of turtles, soft shell and yellow-bellied sliders; lots of fish jumping but not identified; and a raccoon in a tree. the guide said they raid the bird’s nests. Birds seen included snowy egrets, blue herons, cormorants, a barred owl, may red-winged blackbirds and boat-tailed grackles; but the high point of the day for me was seeing two sandhill cranes off in the distance beyond the “prairie”. My first sighting.
Next came a drive along Swamp Drive to the Chesser Homestead, and finally a walk along the boardwalk