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I hiked Hickeys Creek Mitigation Park back in September, 2007. Mitigation Parks are an effective way to protect native plant communities and the plants and animals that rely on them. The Mitigation Park was originally established by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Lee County to mitigate for gopher tortoise habitat destroyed by development in southwest Florida.
The acquisition of lands to form Hickeys Creek Mitigation Park started in 1994. Adding to ten acres of land already preserved, Lee County's Environmentally Sensitive Lands Program and Florida Communities Trust purchased 770 acres. Five parcels, totaling 82 acres, were acquired through the Conservation 20/20. Hickeys Creek Mitigation Park was opened to the public on April 20, 2002, making this a natural area for all to enjoy. The park encompasses 862 acres of land consisting of pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, freshwater marshes, cypress swamps, hardwood hammocks, oak and palm forests.
The Tourist Development Council of Lee County assisted in the funding of waterfront facilities at Hickeys Creek. The creek flows through the park for over one mile and discharges into the Caloosahatchee River.
The terrestrial and aquatic communities within the park support a variety of wildlife including gopher tortoises, Florida scrub jays, Florida panthers, bobcats, eastern indigo snakes, American alligators, river otters and a variety of birds.
Road Leading to Hickeys Creek
I started out to hike the park. It has three different trails and I decided to do the Palmetto Pines Trail first since it is in the back of the park and is probably the longest of the trails. As I approached the creek, I came to an observation deck overlooking it.
As I continue on the trail, I come to a canoe launch on the creek.
Further down the trail I look back to see the deck I was on earlier.
Hickey's Creek Overlook
They built a nice bridge to take me over the creek and it has this incredible boardwalk that keeps me high and dry. It soon splits at this "Y" and I can go either way. I choose to stay to the right to get to the Palmetto Pines Trail.
Nice Bridge and Boardwalk!
I soon come to a sign that directs me to any of the three trails. I go to the right to get to the Palmetto Pines Trail.
The 3 Hiking Trails Sign
This is a nice trail. It takes me along a ridge that is tree covered and shady which is important when hiking in Florida! I eventually come to another boardwalk that leads to an overlook.
View from Palmetto Pines Trail Overlook
Next I find a covered bench where I have lunch and then finish the Palmetto Pines Trail by hiking back to the trails intersection I was at earlier. Next I choose to take the North Marsh Trail.
North Marsh Trail
I come to the North Marsh Trail Overlook. The marsh is dry because it is fall which is the beginning of the dry season. In the middle of the summer, this marsh would probably be very wet.
I begin to hike back which leads me to the Hickey's Creek Trail. This is a really nice trail because it runs right along side of the creek in the trees! I saved the best for last.
View from Hickeys Creek Trail
Hickey's Creek is located at 17980 Palm Beach Blvd. (East State Road 80), Alva, FL 33920. Since I live in Florida, I like to hike here when the weather is cooler. I travel outside of Florida in the summer months.
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