Everglades Exploration Network

I'm probably the only one here concerned about this.

From the BCNP web site:

Effective May 13, through August 20, camping will be available at Midway Campground and the "loop" in Bear Island Campground. All other campgrounds will be closed

I was driving back home from Miami last weekend and took a detour down the Loop Road and saw the gates closed and locked at Mitchells and Pinecrest/Oil Pad.  I've never seen these sites closed before, not even while they were gentrifying Mitchells. I'm doing my annual summer week in the  Cypress in July and was planning on spending it at Mitchells for the high ground there. Looks like I'll be at Bear Island instead. I've had my tent flooded there by summer downpours when the water table is high (like it will be this year) and the rainwater has nowhere to drain. Better plan on bringing the canoe...never thought about canoe camping at Bear Island before...maybe they should build a chickee...

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How long do you stay?  Its sad to see some of the improvements coming to the Big Cypress. Along with improvements comes fees. Mitchells will no longer be free after hunting season. The hunter groups are keeping us from losing many of our privileges but when hunting season is over, things are changing. 

Mitchells will no longer be free. The NPS is looking for a host camper couple to collect fees. We are afraid the oil pad will be closed except to select groups.  I remember the good ol days. There was a group of guys a little down on their luck that stayed the entire summer on the Loop Road at "The Hump."  This can no longer be done. There is now a 2 week limit, and soon it may no longer be free.

While I am certainly glad the area was preserved, it saddens me to keep losing recreational use.  But I guess I understand. Some of the Canadian tourists were taking advantage.

 

The Shealys are storing my camper. I need to drive out and check before the 15th of this month.  Did you ever consider staying at the Skunk Ape place? I think its $20-$25/day or pay 5 days get 2 days free.  You could put an A/C in your tent and it has showers and bathrooms. You could also stay in my camper on site.

 

I have some junk inside (ladder, skiff, wood) but this could be removed. Hopefully the roof doesnt leak. You could plug it in and have A/C, refrigerator and microwave.  I may have a small grill in the storage box.  You could hook up the water for the sinks. The stove works fine... may need propane.  The shower doesnt work very well but they have showers and bathrooms.

 

Let me know if you want to use my camper. You are more than welcome and it might actually be beneficial to crank up the A/C. . Its a little rough but you are more than welcome to it.  I hope the bugs havent moved in. Just tell one of the Shealy bros (Jack or Dave) to move it to a camp spot.  I need to tell them to be expecting you. Im going out there next week. Let me know I need to give you a key..

Sounds like the same thing that happened at Burns Lake. It used to be free and open all year. Now its only open during hunting season (for camping) and it was monitored by "hosts" the last time I tried to go there in season. It also appeared that it was being abused by the RV crowd, but back in the past when it was just hunters and locals everything was fine. I see they have it open for day use only now.

Funny how 'improvements" are subjective!

Dale said:

How long do you stay?  Its sad to see some of the improvements coming to the Big Cypress. Along with improvements comes fees. Mitchells will no longer be free after hunting season. The hunter groups are keeping us from losing many of our privileges but when hunting season is over, things are changing. 

Mitchells will no longer be free. The NPS is looking for a host camper couple to collect fees. We are afraid the oil pad will be closed except to select groups.  I remember the good ol days. There was a group of guys a little down on their luck that stayed the entire summer on the Loop Road at "The Hump."  This can no longer be done. There is now a 2 week limit, and soon it may no longer be free.

While I am certainly glad the area was preserved, it saddens me to keep losing recreational use.  But I guess I understand. Some of the Canadian tourists were taking advantage.

 

The Shealys are storing my camper. I need to drive out and check before the 15th of this month.  Did you ever consider staying at the Skunk Ape place? I think its $20-$25/day or pay 5 days get 2 days free.  You could put an A/C in your tent and it has showers and bathrooms. You could also stay in my camper on site.

 

I have some junk inside (ladder, skiff, wood) but this could be removed. Hopefully the roof doesnt leak. You could plug it in and have A/C, refrigerator and microwave.  I may have a small grill in the storage box.  You could hook up the water for the sinks. The stove works fine... may need propane.  The shower doesnt work very well but they have showers and bathrooms.

 

Let me know if you want to use my camper. You are more than welcome and it might actually be beneficial to crank up the A/C. . Its a little rough but you are more than welcome to it.  I hope the bugs havent moved in. Just tell one of the Shealy bros (Jack or Dave) to move it to a camp spot.  I need to tell them to be expecting you. Im going out there next week. Let me know I need to give you a key..

Yep. Try going to Monument Lake. When I was staying at Monroe Station, I drove over to Monument Lake just to take a look because it had been years, not to camp and the gestapo camp host, down from up north somewhere, sittin outside his huge RV, yelled at me for not stopping.

Thanks for the offer Dale, but I think I'll take my chances at Bear Island. The hydrograph for East Hinson shows the water table at the pond apple level which is still low enough to allow for drainage in the pinelands after a heavy rain.

I know that Bear Island is scheduled to have the culverts replaced on the road that pink jeep camp is on but I'm not sure exactly when.

Those culverts were sitting alongside the road over 2 years ago. They are not replaced yet?

 
Larry Alesi said:

I know that Bear Island is scheduled to have the culverts replaced on the road that pink jeep camp is on but I'm not sure exactly when.

Just looking through some old email and it looks like the repair work was done in April.

I was just out in the Big Cypress. There were NO mosquitos whatsover. That most likely will change but for now mosquitos are a non factor in the BCNP.   I stopped at the Addition Lands, Skunk Ape, Monroe Station, Loop Road, and Miccosuki and didnt encounter one single bug. However the heat is brutal. Relief finally came when the clouds rolled in and it rained. My prediction June will be our last month to enjoy.  I have August and September pegged as the 2 worst months..

The Addition Lands parking lot near Snake Road is one large treeless unshaded slab of asphalt. The boat ramp is very nice however and the lighting will probably be good. I see no bathrooms yet..

It looks as if Monroe Station is sharing the same fate. The shade trees I enjoyed last year have been removed. I wonder if they just bulldozed them under? I am a bit confused why the NPS shows time and again that they prefer to clear cut everything instead of saving select trees. I would imagine saving trees would make construction harder.  Hey maybe they figure trees are more work to maintain later and they are probably understaffed. The NPS maintenence crews are always working hard when I see them.  I cut the grass at Monroe Station myself last year in between just to try and help. But it always irks me to see shade trees being removed. The Pinelands campground on the Loop Road is a good example. The few trees in the center were just bulldozed leaving a completely treeless campsite. Now we will get to enjoy another large shadeless slab of asphalt at Monroe Station with the only trees remaining on the perimeter.. 

 

 

Even though a few trees had to be sacrificed, the improvements will look nice when completed.  Other than the lack of shade, the parking lot/boat ramp in the Addition Lands is beautiful.  And Im sure Monroe Station will also be very nice.

Monroe Station historically serves as the parking area for land owners/hunters/ORVs.. This is where they unload their buggies and leave their trucks and trailers. I received word that the parking area at Monroe Station will not be ready in time for hunting season.

From my experience the hunters have been very cooperative even under very tight parking conditions. I had absolutely no problems with hunters when I worked at MS.. The few problems I had were from non-hunting ORVers that find it appealing to race around and spin donuts in the parking area at nite.

Monument Lake will serve as the interim parking area for ORVs. The reaction of the Monument Lake camp host will be interesting.  From my experience, some camp hosts are gestapo like.  They run a tight ship.  Im curious to see how he will handle the situation. (chuckle) I wish him luck.

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