Near the crossroads of Krome Ave and Calle Ocho, and the back yard of the Miccosukee Casino, there’s a boat ramp into waters connected by arterial hydrodynamics to Lake Okeechobee.
This is an area usually run through by airboats, but you may find interest in hitting it up the old-school motor-free way for an exciting paddle through a unique ecosystem, with a strange mutation of interesting consequence.
It’s officially called Water Conservation Area 3B.
This 128 square mile region is located in the larger Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area. In fact, this area is officially sanctioned as a hunting and check station location for the great Florida Python Challenge 2021.
First of all, here are the coordinates: 25°45’42.7″N 80°30’08.5″W
Second of all, the water quality here is considered “Poor” according to the Florida DEP.
Third of all, phosphorus in the water has caused an over proliferation of Cattail (Typha species) plants, which have crowded out and replaced the native Sawgrass. This is actually on purpose because Cattail has the unlikely quality of soaking up nutrient runoff and storing it in decayed matter. It’s part of the strategy of Stormwater Treatment Areas such as in Palm Beach County which have a scientifically proven benefit in our attempts to fight pollution.
Fourth of all, the Cattail is so numerous and so dense that there is an unnatural level of sound absorption in the area. Yell as loud as you want in WCA 3B, you may not even be able to hear yourself.
Go far enough and you’ll find a tree island, maybe the least studied, most remote and unknown environmental feature of the Everglades.
If you stick to the watery trail, watch out. Airboats run here on a regular basis. And you may not even hear them coming.
If you duck into the reeds and weeds, be aware. There are alligators and snakes of all sizes in the area.