10 Things You Didn’t Know About CREW’s History

It is important to know where you’ve been in order to better understand where you are going. The CREW lands have an interesting past. Below are 10 events in CREW’s history:Bob Byrd in logged area 1949

  1. The Corkscrew Marsh and adjacent lands were acquired by Atlantic Crew planting seedlings 1949Land and Improvement Company (now known as  ALICO, Inc.) from Empire Land Company in 1914.
  2. Pine timber was first harvested in the 1930’s in a “clear-cut” fashion that left the land virtually bare. (see  top right)
  3. From 1948 to 1952, pine trees were replanted. (see right)
  4. 1970-1974 the pine trees were finally mature. (see left)IMG_8443
  5. In 1989, Southwest Florida faced a serious drought which shook people to action, resulting in the formation of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) Land & Water Trust.
  6. Joel Kuperberg spearheaded the land trust idea, and a public/private partnership was formed to protect the land for water. “ In Southwest Florida preserving land means preserving water” -Dave Allen
  7. In 1991, the South Florida Water Management District used funds from their Save Our Rivers program to purchase 6,779.95 acres in and around the Corkscrew Marsh.  
  8. With the help of Lee County, South Florida Water Management District, Florida’s Conservation and Recreation Lands Program and Collier County, more land around the Corkscrew Marsh was purchased
  9. In 1995, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission designated parts of the CREW Project as a Wildlife & Environmental Area (WEA).CREW Acq. Map 2004
  10. The CREW Marsh Trails opened to the public in 1994. The Cypress Dome Trails opened in 2008 and the Bird Rookery Swamp trails opened in 2011. The Flint Pen trail system is coming soon.


The CREW Land & Water Trust promotes public use of CREW trails and continues to work with its partners to acquire and preserve more land. It is astonishing to hike the CREW Marsh trails and realize that the area was clear-cutted as recently as the 1980’s. When I look that those beautiful tall pine trees and the abundant undergrowth beneath them, I can’t help but think of the power we have as humans. We can create such destruction, but CREW is a living, breathing example of the healing we can do.
If you would like to learn more about our partners who helped make the CREW project possible, please visit: https://crewtrus.mystagingwebsite.com/about/partners/know where you were to know where you go

2 Replies to “10 Things You Didn’t Know About CREW’s History”

  1. As the Director of the SFWMD Land Stewartship Diviison I had the privilege of being involved in the preservation of CREW
    It was a very unique project for us with Joel Kuperberg’s leadership to create the CREW Trust.
    I want to recognize the important roles that Ed Carlson and Bill Helfferich played in proposing the SFWMD land purchase project
    Lee County Commissioner who strongly supported the project
    And Jim Goodwin who managed the project with passion and energy.

    1. Fred,

      Thank you so much for the comment, and for recognizing those key people. Knowing and understanding the CREW history is so important. Would you be interested in coming in for an interview or writing a document on your experience preserving CREW? People like Joel and Jim will forever live on at CREW. I think it is important that we start to document stories from people like you, Ed and Bill that way we can preserve the history along with CREW. If you are interested please email Jessi Drummond at education@crewtrus.mystagingwebsite.com. Thank you for all your support and your dedication to the CREW Project.

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