Visit Old Florida of 1,000 years agoJanuary 7th, 2011 by Post Staff
Barley Barber Swamp is at the center of a distinctly modern dispute. Environmental activists have just filed suit against Martin County Sheriff Bob Crowder, alleging their rights were violated when they were arrested for trespass in 2009.
Post Columnist Sally Swartz, a former member of the Editorial Board, says that no matter how the lawsuit turns out, protesters at least have drawn attention to the ancient swamp, which she describes as “a 400-acre chunk of Old Florida in Martin County.”
Sally recently took a tour of the swamp, owned by Florida Power & Light, which was closed to the public after the 9/11 attacks of 2001 but recently reopened to tours. “Think of a swamp wilderness that Native Americans walked 1,000 years ago, and that’s Barley Barber today. A bald eagle perches in a tall tree beside the road to the boardwalk. The 900-year-old bald cypress, a state-recognized ‘champion tree,’ is a wonder to behold.
“Tall maple trees and prehistoric ferns shade the path. The stillness is so overwhelming that a red-tailed hawk’s cries seem shockingly loud. Alligators and river otters splash in wetlands studded with cypress ‘knees’ poking out of the water.
Sally’s full column is available at this link.