As part of ongoing efforts to help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 and protect public safety, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) will temporarily close the all CREW trails, effective at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, 2020.
Closure includes Bird Rookery Swamp, Flint Pen Strand, Cypress Dome and CREW Marsh trails.
The District follows the lead of local governments that have issued Safer at Home orders in their communities and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health.
We want everyone to know that all four of the CREW trail systems- Bird Rookery Swamp, Flint Pen Strand, Cypress Dome Trail, and CREW Marsh Trails are all currently open. We are updating our website daily with current information regarding their status. So get out to the trails soon, just be sure to keep a 6-foot distance between yourself and others. As always, your donations and support are greatly appreciated, so bring a few extra bucks to drop in the donation box on the trails. Stay well everyone!
Just in case you missed Laura Tichy-Smith’s great article on CREW Field Trips, here is what you need to know. The article titled “Field Trip” was released October 25th, 2015 in The News-Press Coastal Life.
Q: What should people do if they see a black bear on one of the trails?
A: Florida Black Bears are the only bear species that inhabit Florida. Safety tips are different with different species of bears due to their varying life histories. The following safety tips refer to black bears and not necessarily brown bears, Grizzly bears, or other bear species.
Think of a black bear as a large, stray dog in your neighborhood. Precautions you’d take with a stray dog apply to black bears too. Don’t make direct eye contact (a threat gesture), don’t run, and don’t turn your back to it.
First, make some noise (clapping hands, bell, whistle) so the bear knows that you are there. Surprising any wild animal is not a good thing.
Stand tall and make yourself look larger by raising your hands above your head. Adults should pick up and hold small children.
Then, back away slowly and get a safe distance away from the black bear. Just like dogs, black bears have a chase instinct and will go after something running from them even if they do not mean any harm. Once you are at a safe distance, you can snap a few photos and enjoy the moment.
Black bears in the wild are shy animals and generally not aggressive towards people. Exceptions would be a black bear that is strongly food conditioned and smells any food you are carrying, and a female black bear who is protecting her cubs. If you see a small cub seemingly by itself, back off immediately. The mother black bear is somewhere very close, and she is watching her cub and she is watching you.
A black bear is a large, powerful, wild animal. It pays to be cautious and to not provoke it, so know a little about black bear behavior before meeting one.
If a black bear stands on its hind legs, it’s not a threat; it just wants to get a better look and smell of the situation.
However, stamping its front legs, jaw popping (snapping its jaws together to make a popping noise), huffing (blowing air out of its nose and mouth quickly), or bluff charging (rushing toward a person but stopping before physically making contact) means it is nervous, and you need to back away from the black bear. Allow the black bear plenty of room to escape, which is all it really wants to do.
If a black bear does approach you and attack, hold your ground and fight back.
Today November 6th 2014 a group of wonderful Florida Gulf Coast Students (FGCU) helped CREW Trust staff install number markers for the first self-guided tour for the Cypress Dome Trails. The FGCU students are currently taking Colloquium with Brenda Thomas (our wildflower expert). Their Service-learning project was to work with CREW Staff to upgrade and clean-up our hiking trails. We had a beautiful morning walking the 6 mile trail completing the yellow, green, and white loop.
The Cypress Dome Trails opened in 2008 and since then we have added benches, bird houses, short cuts, and now a numbered self-guided tour. The self-guided tour brochure was also created by a group of FGCU students for their Civic-engagement class. You do not have to do the numbers in order, just have fun reading the descriptions and observe.
Now visitors can download the self-guided tour map and brochure by scanning a QR code at the trail head or visiting this link before you hit the trails. Enjoy and discover the Cypress Dome Trails at your own pace.
*Give it a try and tell us what you think by commenting below.
The CREW Land & Water Trust thanks David P. Browne, Esq., Board Certified Wills, Trusts & Estates Lawyer, who has stepped up to be our major sponsor for the 2013 CREW 10K Trail Run and 1-Mile Fun Runon October 26, 2013.
This is the 2nd annual CREW 10K Trail Run organized by CREW runner and volunteer, Phil Nissen. Phil is known by many across southwest Florida as the founder of the “Caloosa Trailheads“, an informal group of trail runners. The run takes place at the CREW Cypress Dome Trails and Caracara Prairie Preserve Trails – through marsh and mud, ditches and sloughs, along cattle paths and beautiful back country where bears and deer reside.
Come on out for a fun day with other runners who enjoy the outdoors and excitement of off-road running. There will be a 1-mile fun run as well for families with smaller children. Snacks and water will be provided.
For more info or to register, click here. It’s free, but donations to the CREW Trust are greatly appreciated.
The CREW Cypress Dome and Caracara Prairie Preserve trails are primitive, rugged trails through pine flatwoods, popash slough, along marsh edges, in cattle pasture, and through oak hammocks. They vary from relatively flat grassy trails to narrow, root-filled curvy trails, to seasonally wet and muddy trails. This race goes across a drainage ditch as well. It’s adventure all the way!
Hours: One hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset
Trails/Facilities: Free – donations accepted, Open to public
The Bird Rookery Swamp Trail officially opened in July 2011. The Bird Rookery Swamp Trail offers 12 miles of hiking and biking trails, including a 1500-ft. boardwalk with wheelchair accessibility. A 1/4-mile crushed shell path leads to a 1500-ft. boardwalk, then the trails become ground level, sandy/grassy, relatively flat berms with swamp on both sides. The trails are actually old tram roads used when the area was logged many years ago. Biking can be a challenge on the grassy/sandy trails, but quite rewarding. The maple-cypress swamp is home to alligators, otters, Florida panthers, bobcats, white-tailed deer and more. There is one portable toilet at the beginning of the boardwalk and several benches along the trail within the first 1.5 miles. Beyond that there are no structures.
Birders will delight in the abundance of songbirds that frequent the cypress trees along the boardwalk, as well as the many raptors and wading birds found along the trails. Barred owls are common and swallow-tailed kites frequent the area in summer.
The walking of dogs along this trail is not recommended.
From Fort Myers/Naples: From I-75, take exit 111 and turn east (away from Naples) on Immokalee Road (CR 846). Travel 11.4 miles and turn left onto Shady Hollow Blvd. (One mile past the Oil Well Rd stoplight – Shady Hollow is where Immokalee Rd goes from 4-lane to 2-lane). Go to the end of Shady Hollow (approx 2.4 miles). Parking lot is on the right.
From Immokalee: Travel west (toward Naples) on CR 846 (Immokalee Road) for approx. 16.5 miles. Turn right on Shady Hollow Blvd. Travel 2.4 miles north to parking area/gate.
On Saturday, November 3, 2012, fifty-nine committed runners and walkers showed up at the crack of dawn, braving the cool morning temperatures to participate in CREW’s inaugural no-frills 10K Adventure Trail Run and 1-Mile Fun Run at the CREW Cypress Dome Trails. Phil Nissen, a regular CREW trail runner and director of the 10K Trail Run, showed runners the map of the course, explained how the course was marked and then sent them on their way.
They ran, walked, splashed through water and mud, saw cows and hogs at Caracara Prairie Preserve, and came across the finish line with mud in their shoes and smiles on their faces. Post run conversation was punctuated by laughter as participants told stories of their own personal adventures out on the trail. Gina Fidler said, “I haven’t had that much fun doing a race in a long time!”.
There were no bibs, no timing tags, no places or prizes – just great trails, lots of nature to appreciate, fresh air, and an enthusiastic crowd willing to have some fun. That said, we did have folks record their times for the 10K just for fun, and here is the list. If your time is missing and you have it, send it to us so we can update the list. Thanks all!
Andrews Lisa ?
Ayer Tammy 1:15:12
Bazinet Nicole 1:15:02
Bocharova Nika 1:15:10
Branstetter Cassie 1:08:22
Brooks Brenda 1:15:07
Browne David 0:48:16 (Second)
Callen Sara 1:31:00
Calvert Daniel 0:54:53
Catron Susan ?
Collins Geiger Sissy 1:02:18
Cominski Michael 0:54:16
Crosse Amy 1:09:30
Davis James 1:01:57
davis jason 1:07:52
DeLisi Daniel 0:59:21
Fidler Fran 1:01:45
Fidler Gina 1:14:12
Frantz Jeremy 1:25:07
Frantz Ali 1:25:16
Gaffney Erin ?
Gallagher Adria 0:54:18
Gallagher Brad 0:54:38
Geiger Keith 0:51:38
Gommermann Luke 0:54:00
Gray Paul 1:04:18
Hanson Keith 1:17:50
Harden Neil 0:54:08
Harvey Klaus 1:13:58
Higgins Rick 1:24:18
Jones Braidy 1:17:56
Kinsella Amy 1:08:22
Layman Laura 1:15:00
Martin James 1:24:26
May Christy 1:18:01
McKnight Jordan 0:46:54 (First)
Morford Beth 1:19:00
Ogle Stephanie 0:55:26
Payne Mary ?
Pfeiffer Nicole 1:02:18
Polgar Marisa 1:12:17
Shamus Chantil 1:14:41
Shelton Gretchen ?
Simard Susie 1:14:55
Smith Kathleen Smith 1:19:00
Solveson Rick 1:15:08
Sowder Amy 1:15:11
Spackman Matt 1:06:00
Stein Sally 1:12:17
Styra Bjoern 0:58:00
Waller Lee 1:24:00
Washuta Amy 0:55:16
Williams Sasha 1:29:10
Many of the runners had never been to or heard of CREW before, so this was a great introduction to the magic that is CREW. Naples Outfitters and Run Florida on McGregor co-sponsored the trail run with the CREW Trust, helping us purchase water and food and providing 25 T-shirts that were given away in a drawing.
Thanks to everyone who participated, to our sponsors, and to our exceptional volunteers who helped prepare the course and keep everyone on track and safe on run day. Let’s do it again!