Saturday, February 9, 2008
Preserve this Magnificent North Florida Landscape, Please.
Steinhatchee River at Sunrise
So, here we are on a family outing, my partner, his sister and husband, and another family friend. We are visiting the old family stomping grounds at the Steinhatchee River in the Big Bend area of Florida. It has been extremely warm for this time of year, and we have gone “Ramblin” as North Floridians say, looking for fishing holes, and visiting the locations that Joe remembers from his childhood. They are cold aqua colored natural springs, fishing holes, and sluggish bay beaches where the Gulf of Mexico seems to have worn itself out trying to push waves over the one-hundred mile wide shallow Big Bend bay. We drive through long stretches of salt-water marsh and spot egrets, blue heron, and even a soaring American eagle that glides to a perch atop a huge pine. I have taken hundreds of photographs that I will use as inspiration for pastel drawings.
We are staying at Steinhatchee Landing Resort, an irregular clutch of cottages and houses with gardens, and live oak shaded lawns rolling down to the River, a lazy, tidal flow that provides “the best fishing in North Florida,” according to the natives, Georgians, and other fishing devotees that vacation here. Jimmy Carter has stayed here in order to enjoy the fishing, and I suspect inspect the modular building methods employed in constructing this marvelous resort complex. I have enjoyed the excellent exercise facility (everything works), and the many photographic opportunities provided by both the domesticated landscape of the resort and the surrounding natural habitat. This is one of the least developed areas in the entire state of Florida, though it did enjoy a brief building explosion during the recently collapsed mega real estate boom. I hope the building boom does not resume after the current recession because it will threaten and finally destroy this incredible natural landscape.