Date Visited: 12/13/2020
The dredge at Collier-Seminole State Park is a remarkable piece of engineering history. It was built in 1924 and used to create the Tamiami Trail, a highway that connected Tampa and Miami through the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp. The dredge is now a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark and can be seen at the park, which also offers camping, hiking, biking, canoeing and wildlife viewing. The park is located in Naples, Florida, and covers one of the largest mangrove swamps in the world. If you are looking for an adventure in nature and a glimpse of Old Florida, Collier-Seminole State Park is a great destination!
Another Rare and beautiful sight at the park are the Royal Palms. These majestic trees, with their smooth trunks and feathery fronds, are native to the Caribbean and South America, but only grow naturally in three places in Florida. One of them is the Royal Palm Hammock, a small island of tropical forest surrounded by mangroves and wetlands in Collier-Seminole State Park.
Barron Gift Collier Jr., the son of a wealthy businessman who owned most of the land in Collier County wanted to create a national park to protect the royal palms and other rare plants and animals that lived in the hammock. He donated 2,300 acres of land to the state of Florida in 1947, which became one of the first state parks in Florida.
Today, visitors can take in the beauty of the Royal Palm Hammock by hiking the 0.9-mile loop trail that starts at the park marina. The trail is mostly on an elevated boardwalk that winds through the dense forest, where you can see liguus snails, leather ferns, gumbo limbo trees, Jamaica dogwood flowers and more. You can also spot some wildlife, such as raccoons, squirrels, woodpeckers, warblers and even alligators. The trail offers a glimpse into a different world, a tropical oasis that has survived for centuries in the midst of a changing landscape.
Collier-Seminole State Park 20200 Tamiami Trail E, Naples 34114 (239) 394-3397 https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/collier-seminole-state-park
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