Nature Walk: Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Internationally recognized Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary southeast of Bonita Springs is a watershed
and cypress forest owned and operated by the National Audubon Society.
See varieties of wading and migratory birds and other wildlife on 2 miles of nature trails
through the largest virgin bald cypress forest in the United States.
The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is located northeast of Naples, Florida. It is owned and operated by the National Audubon Society. The Sanctuary’s 11,000 acres are within the Big Cypress Swamp and they contain the country’s largest remaining stand of 400 to 700 year-old virgin bald cypresses.
A two-mile long boardwalk passes through the sanctuary and through distinct environmental areas including pinelands, freshwater marshes and wet prairie, cypress swamps and hardwood hammocks.
The Sanctuary is the largest remaining breeding ground for the endangered wood stork. Low, winter water levels with fish laden water holes signal the storks to begin nesting as they now have enough food to raise their young. When water management practices delay the winter drying season, the storks begin nesting later thus when the spring rains disperse the fish, the storks prematurely abandon their nests and young.
Strangler fig roots are seen wrapped around the trunks of host trees throughout the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. While they may look like vines here, strangler figs are trees that begin growth from a dispersed seed. Strangler figs grow above the canopy of their host tree and send aerial roots down to the ground. In many cases, the strangler fig will engulf and kill the host tree.
Corkscrew Swamp: A look at the elevated boardwalk of the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, surrounded by wet prairie to the left and right and pond cypress in the distance. Pond cypresses are smaller than bald cypresses, and they usually grow in the more open wetland area.