Everglades Exploration Network

Mid June 2014 Paddle from Chokoloskee to Crooked Creek Chickee for Exploration up into New River

I am interested in putting together an investigative paddle mid-June based out of the Crooked Creek Chickee at the lower end of Sunday Bay to explore up into New River and to explore a few of the clearings/reported mounds on the south banks of New River.

Its probably about 5 miles from Chokoloskee to Crooked Creek (2-3 hours paddling).

I'm not sure how many can sleep on the chickee.

The idea is to leave early in the week (I'm a school teacher starting summer break), set up camp on the chickee the 1st day, then do an exploratory paddle up New River to beyond the park boundary into the preserve to identify the possibility of a dry and bug free (yeah, right!) campsite just inside the preserve.  

If found, possibly move the gear to this campsite.  If not, either way, begin the investigation of the mounds/clearings of interest that may be associated with Ft Harrell.

Let me know if you are interested.

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The public was still allowed to use airboats on that trail way after the ENP was created. I cant remember the date but Ill take a guess it was in the 80s when the NPS erected white boundary markers. This infuriated airboaters as this important trail was cut off from public use. Every year the NPS chiseled away at airboat use in the area until we have what we have today. Now the huge deer herd along with the pigs have also vanished. Its really a shame what has happened to such a beautiful area once teeming with wildlife. Hopefully it will someday return to its former glory.

We've really got to do some airboat surveys late this summer in the Coconut Hammock area.

Proven last year in East Everglades, we can do years of paddle mapping in hours using airboats

and the only ticket we need is Cuban sandwiches and beer.

Get the fan ready...I've got the ticket baby!

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
1837 SEMINOLE INDIAN WAR FORT HARRELL FOUND BY LOCAL GLADES EXPLORERS
Ending a Century of Mystery, Shawn Beightol, Chris Harris, and Tony Pernas Locate Missing Seminole War Fort Harrell
Monday, June 30, 2014
Contact: Shawn Beightol (beights@yahoo.com 305-801-8717)
 
Miami, Fl. – Amateur historians/Florida Everglades explorers Shawn Beightol, Chris Harris, and Tony Pernas announce today the rediscovery and location of a Seminole Indian War Fort constructed in 1837 and last seen by engineers of the Tamiami Trail in 1917.  The fort has been lost to researchers for nearly a century due to the remoteness of the location, the difficulty of exact geographic mappings/locations in the Florida Everglades, and rapid decomposition and changing topography of the wet, hot, tropical region.  
 
Using historic war maps, engineering surveys and notes, and 1940's era aerial photos, the Beightol/Harris/Pernas team logged almost a hundred hours and miles this year narrowing down the possible locations to one particular clearing that National Park employee Tony Pernas noticed on an aerial survey.  
 
Last week, June 26 2014, the team made a final, late season overnight push into the tropical hardwood hammock at the headwaters of the Everglades'/Big Cypress' New River.  The team found what it believes to be conclusive evidence of Fort Harrell's exact location - a series of post holes in the limestone subsurface used to erect horizontal log fort walls in the manner of Pennsylvania's 1778 Fort Roberdeau (www.fortroberdeau.org/content/history-fort-roberdeau) or Spotsylvania's 1864 battleworks (https://npsfrsp.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/are-those-trenches-real/ ), a technique necessary when the ground or time constraints do not allow the digging of a continuous trench to support a typical vertical log palisade.
  
The clearing believed by the team to have held Fort Harrell (and supported by such historic maps as the 1848 Blunt Nautical Chart, 1855 Westcott Survey Maps, and 1856 Ives Military Map) consists of a limestone subsurface layer covered with 1-2 inches of peat soil.  Team member Tony Pernas noticed regularly occurring holes in the limestone, many of which appeared in pairs.  By flagging the visible holes, it was determined that they describe a rectangular area with 4 straight and perpendicular sides, interior walls, an extension that may be a bastion or livestock enclosure and an excavated/natural boat landing.
 
The absence of modern decaying materials, as so many other high grounds/mounds explored this year possessed, suggests this is not the site of subsequent fishing or hunting camps.  This, combined with the erosion to the regularly spaced/placed holes in the limestone suggest this to be a much older structural site than a hunting/fishing camp of the past 50-60 years.
 
National Park employee Tony Pernas has reporting our findings to the cultural resources division of the National Park Service.  Next step would be a thorough professional survey of the area, including the soil in and around the enclosed area, the post-holes, the boat landing, and lake bottom. 
 
Images and further notes of the Discovery of Fort Harrell Everglades/Big Cypress mission may be found at: 

Congratulations on an apparent great discovery!

Now thats cool. Amazing research, determination and execution!!

Dang Boys!

Cool as hell!!!

Now we gotta get out there & get it on the National Register of Historic Places!!!

Great work!

shawn beightol said:

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
1837 SEMINOLE INDIAN WAR FORT HARRELL FOUND BY LOCAL GLADES EXPLORERS
Ending a Century of Mystery, Shawn Beightol, Chris Harris, and Tony Pernas Locate Missing Seminole War Fort Harrell
Monday, June 30, 2014
Contact: Shawn Beightol (beights@yahoo.com 305-801-8717)
 
Miami, Fl. – Amateur historians/Florida Everglades explorers Shawn Beightol, Chris Harris, and Tony Pernas announce today the rediscovery and location of a Seminole Indian War Fort constructed in 1837 and last seen by engineers of the Tamiami Trail in 1917.  The fort has been lost to researchers for nearly a century due to the remoteness of the location, the difficulty of exact geographic mappings/locations in the Florida Everglades, and rapid decomposition and changing topography of the wet, hot, tropical region.  
 
Using historic war maps, engineering surveys and notes, and 1940's era aerial photos, the Beightol/Harris/Pernas team logged almost a hundred hours and miles this year narrowing down the possible locations to one particular clearing that National Park employee Tony Pernas noticed on an aerial survey.  
 
Last week, June 26 2014, the team made a final, late season overnight push into the tropical hardwood hammock at the headwaters of the Everglades'/Big Cypress' New River.  The team found what it believes to be conclusive evidence of Fort Harrell's exact location - a series of post holes in the limestone subsurface used to erect horizontal log fort walls in the manner of Pennsylvania's 1778 Fort Roberdeau (www.fortroberdeau.org/content/history-fort-roberdeau) or Spotsylvania's 1864 battleworks (https://npsfrsp.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/are-those-trenches-real/ ), a technique necessary when the ground or time constraints do not allow the digging of a continuous trench to support a typical vertical log palisade.
  
The clearing believed by the team to have held Fort Harrell (and supported by such historic maps as the 1848 Blunt Nautical Chart, 1855 Westcott Survey Maps, and 1856 Ives Military Map) consists of a limestone subsurface layer covered with 1-2 inches of peat soil.  Team member Tony Pernas noticed regularly occurring holes in the limestone, many of which appeared in pairs.  By flagging the visible holes, it was determined that they describe a rectangular area with 4 straight and perpendicular sides, interior walls, an extension that may be a bastion or livestock enclosure and an excavated/natural boat landing.
 
The absence of modern decaying materials, as so many other high grounds/mounds explored this year possessed, suggests this is not the site of subsequent fishing or hunting camps.  This, combined with the erosion to the regularly spaced/placed holes in the limestone suggest this to be a much older structural site than a hunting/fishing camp of the past 50-60 years.
 
National Park employee Tony Pernas has reporting our findings to the cultural resources division of the National Park Service.  Next step would be a thorough professional survey of the area, including the soil in and around the enclosed area, the post-holes, the boat landing, and lake bottom. 
 
Images and further notes of the Discovery of Fort Harrell Everglades/Big Cypress mission may be found at: 

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