Trip Start Nov 19, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Gamble Rogers Memorial State Park

Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, November 12, 2010

The Rangers at Gamble Rogers State Park are creative in coming up with ways to get people to come visit and fall in love with the beach, the river and the jungle hammock.  They educate us about flora and fauna living in and around the parks.  Through their efforts we know more about how to treat the natural world around us with the respect and care that it deserves and needs to survive. To that end they set up interpretive programs that Andy and I always try to attend.  We were lucky to be here for a new idea set up and performed by Lauren Swanson, Mark Giblin, and Laura Ostapko.  They hired a boat and Captain Ryan through IMERS www.imersfl.org
  to carry 40 passengers on the Halifax River for a sunset cruise.  Jim collected tickets and The Hurricane Queen had Chris as crew.  We took off from the shore near the boat ramp, traveling south to the draw bridge at High Bridge Road.  Mark served water and lemon aide while Lauren showed us live Blue, Stone and hermit crabs her husband, Allan had successfully caught for us. She also had a taxidermy mounted River Otter for us to get familiar with.  She gave us information on each animal so we could identify them in their natural habitat while explaining their differences and needs that we can help preserve.   Laura (of Americorps) pointed out water fowl as she spotted them with her super binoculars and trained eye.  We got to see and hear information on Great Blue Herons, Three Colored Herons, Snowy Egrets, Ospreys and pipers to name a few.  She explained how many water fowl have already come back to the area due to increased habitat.   Mark took the mike and taught us about the North Peninsula restoration project and how it got started.   

We watched the Tomoka Preserve on the West bank and North Peninsula preserve on the East bank drift by as we comfortably chugged along confident in the crew, captain and Rangers.  Lauren had talked of how Blue crab, Stone Crab, Hermit Crabs, Otters and a large variety of fish are born and thrive in the River between these two preserves.   Laura talked of how many birds depend on the marshes for their survival and perpetuation. The restoration project has brought back the correct level of shoreline by taking away enormous mountains of spoil that had been piled on the river banks back in the 1940's when the river was dredged to make it deep enough to be part of the Intracoastal Waterway.  Removing the spoil returned the river bank to its natural height where the bull rushes will now grow and become the nursery and feeding grounds for wildlife.  Large portions of the river bank have already been restored and we could see how much nature has returned to the area.  Another few years and man's handiwork will look totally natural supporting abundant wildlife and preserving the necessary nursery grounds for the fish and crabs.   Rookeries will come back and the trees and grasses will offer cover to nesting birds.  Given a chance, Nature works her wonders efficiently and quickly.  I was amazed at the difference I saw in the river banks from last year when I volunteered to plant Bull Rush in the newly leveled shoreline.

Our Captain competently guided us in a graceful turn around at the bridge and safely deposited us back to the sandy shores of Gamble Rogers.  Andy and My $15/person was well spent for a beautiful and interesting and inspiring cruise on the River.  Thank you Rangers and Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area.
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mamaloons on

hi u 2! We've been invoking your warm and fun loving spirits as temps have fallen below freezing, snow has transformed the PNW into winter wonderland, and power was out for two days. All huddled round the fire,,,.and thinking, "hmmmm,,, we bet Jodie and Andy are on some sugary warm beach right now..." yep...you probably are!

Barbara - Palm Coast on

How nice you were able to learn about the nature habitants of Flagler Beach. I didn't realize there is a cruise such as the one you and Andy went on. See what happens to the locals? Life gets so busy, you don't even enjoy all that is available to you. Well, I know that I am going to take time out to visit the 2nd Annual Gamble Rogers Memorial Music fest on December 4th. I would not have known about this either if it weren't for me trying to find your location at Gamble Rogers Park. Thanks to you two!

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