North Fork cruise

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First alligator of the day.

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The North Fork of the St. Lucie River is a bit of Old Florida wilderness flowing through urban St. Lucie County. It was designated an aquatic preserve in 1972.

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I joined friends yesterday afternoon on a 34-passenger pontoon boat with River Lilly Cruises for an informative guided nature tour.

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The St. Lucie River is a 7-mile-long estuary linked to a coastal river system in St. Lucie and Martin counties in the Florida, United States. The St. Lucie River and St. Lucie Estuary are an “ecological jewel” of the Treasure Coast, central to the health and well-being of the surrounding communities. The river is part of the larger Indian River Lagoon system, the most diverse estuarine environment in North America with more than 4,000 plant and animal species, including manatees, oysters, dolphins, sea turtles and seahorses.

Further up the North Fork is the aquatic preserve. Click to investigate, zoom in, etc. We launched from River Park Marina.
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Yellow-bellied sliders are the turtles we had as baby turtle pets back in the 1960s, keeping them on our tabletops in plastic aquariums with little plastic palm trees.

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My best alligator photo. Lots of expression in that toothy reptile face.

We saw five gators, a couple of different kinds of turtles, a green iguana, leaping mullet, osprey, vultures, a yellow-crowned night heron, kingfishers, an anhinga, and many great blue herons. A few more photos on Flickr: North Fork of the St. Lucie River.

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It was a beautiful, peaceful ride. I’m glad they saved this part of the river nearly half a century ago.

What will we wish we saved in another 50 years? The missing links of the The Florida Wildlife Corridor, for one thing. More habitat and green space, in general.

Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you. – Wendell Berry