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:
- The Corkscrew Marsh and adjacent lands were acquired by Atlantic Land and Improvement Company (now known as ALICO, Inc.) from Empire Land Company in 1914.
- Pine timber was first harvested in the 1930’s in a “clear-cut” fashion that left the land virtually bare. (see top right)
- From 1948 to 1952, pine trees were replanted. (see right)
- 1970-1974 the pine trees were finally mature. (see left)
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- In 1995, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission designated parts of the CREW Project as a Wildlife & Environmental Area (WEA).
- 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/