Everglades Exploration Network

Anyone heard if the Bear Lake Canoe Trail has been cleared out to East Cape Canal?  Swamp Ape said they were making progress last year. I wonder if it will be open this fall.

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Hey Amazon Bill, Swamp Ape here. Still working at it. We hope to complete the clearing this season. We're currently working on preparing the Bear Lake Canal and Trail for this upcoming paddling season. When that's ready and the other trails the Swamp Apes have been working on are completed, we'll get back to the uncleared section of the BLCT.

This is really great news! Thank you swamp angel for all the hard work you and your volunteers have done. Looking forward to the report.
Thanks for the update . It would be good if the park posted trail status updates on the NPS website. You're a hard workin' ape. :). I will help clear the trail at least once if you contact me , and more if I survive the work!

Come out on Nov. 17th for some trail clearing fun.  We will meet at Flamingo at 8:00 am and head in.  Help would be great!!

Esther, what does a volunteer need to bring? Where at flamingo do we meet? If I am in town that weekend I would like to participate.

Vivian, You can register through The Paddle House.  The event info is there as well.  Thanks!

Nov 17th Bear Lake Trail Clearing Volunteer Day

Thanks for the info. I will check the paddle house site

Not sure how I feel about people cleanning up this area to invite more people to come in and cause harm to the area as in past years. Perhaps the everglades should take back this area as it has done to the rest of the road, and canal in that area. The route to this area is very clear as it has been from 1400 AD. In other words some things are left best for those of us that follow the path via the water ways.



Keep in mind last year when we open this area to the public I pick up bag's of trash almost every week end from the trail. Also saw people starting fires, leaving dog food on the trail, bring dogs, using the bath room all over the place, leaving TP paper all over, fight between fishing people, lines all over the trees, Tarpong, Snook, and all kinds of fish being taken not to size. The guys that come to this area put some much lines in the water you can't pass from Homestead canal into Bear Lake.

This is just to name some of the issues.Don't take my word for ask Tom (Swamp Apes), and Jared. Jared was with me on a few trips, and he can tell you the same thing. We have had to call the Rangers over 10 times to deal with issues in this area. Also the people walking the area where made to feel unsafe, and area was used as a rest room.


Is there a plan to address this?


The park to ban fishing from land in this area, or leave it close via land route. Keep in mind you can reach this area via water all year long. This is a rule that is in place in lots of parts of the park.


Sorry to cause any issues. It is great people want to clear out an area. Keep in mind most of the open areas in the park need work, and the long range area need major help. Example Long Lake to Lungs, Coot Pond to Coot bay to name a few. These would take less time, and can be access from the street.

For the report:

The canal has minor issues. Water levels are high.

Animals in the area: Deers, Snakes, Croc, Birds,Snakes, Snakes, frogs, Crawfish, and in Dec/Jan Flamingo's..baby Flamingo's/Spoons.

Trees: Old Gambo's, Old Red & Black Mangroove's, Royal palm, cabbage palm, and so on. Most found in the glades.

Old Ingram Road: At present there are tree down you can't get to the Kayak put in. The road has lots of trees down, and some parts are very hard to pass to the point tree are holding you back from boths sides.

Make sure to wear Snake boots this area has lots of Snakes. Last time in this area had run in twice via two different snakes on the road. Keep in mind I move slow with my eyes on the road, and a stick moving in front of me in circle's. Please be very careful as in most places in the Glades.

This project is a model for responsible stewardship.  The crocodiles returned to the canal once water flow was restored.  The nearby mounds bear witness to man's role in this area.  We have always been there.  

You mention issues long ago addressed and much improved since the canal was reopened.  The problem with the trail existed before the project and improved greatly after the canal was cleared.  Tom will be the first one to attest to this. How is that a bad thing?  Nov. 17th is Tom's project, and approved by the park.

It is the misdirected efforts of individuals attempting to open personal access in protected areas that are a problem.  Project are approved or not.  Some succeed, many fail.  This project is a success in immeasurable way.

Humans have always played a role in the wilderness equation.  I am proud of what we have done, what we have facilitated and what we will do in coming years.


I'm sorry but I find it easier to understand Miami 101's frustration than to agree with your reply.

The issues have existed for a long time, as I have witnessed them myself for a few decades. And I can assure you they are not much improved since the canal was re-opened. The problems are significantly worse today than say 15 years ago.

The canal is not really in the equation, the noble efforts of the Swamp Apes to re-open the paddling trail have not had an effect one way or the other. It is more about access via the land trail and the now common knowledge of the opportunity and the lack of enforcement.

Designating the area as a no fishing zone will do little, as those who break so many rules out there will not change their ways simply because some new words are on paper they neither read nor care about. It is simply an issue of opportunity and the Park's inability to enforce the existing rules. There are larger problems and not enough man power.

I am curious about your comment of "misdirected efforts of individuals attempting to open personal access to protected areas". While I may agree, I don't understand how that fits in here.  Hopefully I can attend the Nov 17th project. Maybe you can explain it to me then?

Sorry to upset anyone. Esther I respect you very much, and all the work you have done to help Kayaks, and introduce people to the movement. I just thought it would be good if someone pointed out the issues faced last year, and the year before.

Gary to answer your question on "misdirected efforts of individuals attempting to open personal access to protected areas" This is about what happen with Tom, and Bob when they told the park lots of lies about me. What Tom did not tell her is he sent me an E-mail stating he was sorry for doing this, and if I recall he also posted it on this site. I had to talk to the park a few times, and they came to the same conclusion. If you recall Gary this is why I left the site, and the Swamp Apes. What I do not understand is what would they gain in doing this to someone who work so hard for them, and loved the park so much.

With this said I do not want to cause any problem, or bad vibes. Once again I'm very sorry for causing any problems, or asking questions. I wish you luck on your efforts, and thank you for everything you have done to help.

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