Collier-Seminole State Park is another jewel in a huge green mosaic* of state and federal lands that fit almost seamlessly together across millions of acres that are uniquely Florida…the greater Everglades system. Even within this park there are several different natural communities, from the pine flatwoods and cypress swamps of the northern section to the Blackwater River that meanders through Florida’s world-famous mangrove swamp, a designated Wilderness Preserve.
The park offers a 3.5 mile unpaved bike trail, a 6.5 mile backcountry hiking trail, and the Royal Palm Hammock Nature Trail, a self-guided nature trail with boardwalks and an observation platform overlooking a marsh. And of course there are campsites with all the conveniences. But perhaps the biggest attraction is water.
We sampled just a couple of miles of the Blackwater River in a park canoe on this trip. The mangroves endlessly fascinate me, their greedy roots competing for every patch of brackish water-covered ground. These tangled clusters of roots trap tons of organic matter, creating islands. Thousands and thousands of islands.
In fact, you can follow the Blackwater River right into Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge and Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Feel like staying the night at a primitive campsite? No problem – just make arrangements at the ranger station. If you prefer, you can take the Blackwater River 13.6 mile canoe trail loop, snaking your way through the mangroves & back to the park.
Check out our Photo Gallery, Video and WonderMap (below), then put this gem on your Florida Bucket List for Nature Lovers.
* Other government lands in Florida’s big green mosaic include: Everglades National Park, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park and Picayune Strand State Forest and Wildlife Management Area.
Collier-Seminole State Park WonderMap. NOTE: Click the waypoint flags for location photos.
More Information on Collier-Seminole State Park: http://www.floridastateparks.org/collierseminole/