Description - The Big Cypress Swamp of southwest Florida is basically a flat, gently sloping limestone plain. During the rainy season (June through September), water flows slowly southward over this plain into the mangrove swamps bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Water also flows below ground through the porous underlying limestone. In places, limestone has dissolved, forming elongated sloughs or channels which have accumulated deep organic soils. These channels or sloughs have been colonized by cypress and other trees, creating swamp forests that stand out on the horizon in contrast to the open prairies and pinelands that occupy the sterile veneer of marl soil which is on top of the remaining limestone. The local term for these linear swamps is "strand."
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Florida's Fascinating Natural Beauty
- The Fakahatchee Strand is the major drainage slough of southwestern Big Cypress Swamp and the largest and most unusual of the strands. Although logging, drainage and other human actions have had a serious impact on the swamp, it is still one of the state's most unusual natural features containing the largest stand of native royal palms and largest colony of natural orchids.
Recreation - Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve offers boardwalk access to an old growth cypress strand and opportunities for day hiking.
Climate - The climate in southern Florida is subtropical, with mild winters and hot, wet summers. It is not unusual for temperatures to exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit with averages reaching above 83 degrees Fahrenheit (above 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging above 64 degrees Fahrenheit (above 18 Celsius). Yearly precipitation for the southwest area is more than 56 inches. Lightweight clothing for hot temperatures is suggested. Long sleeves, pants, sturdy shoes and bug repellent are recommended if hiking.
Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve is located in southwest Florida, on Janes Memorial Scenic Drive, just west of Copeland on State Route 29 and east of Naples.