INDIANTOWN, Fla. - Deep in Western Martin County, in the heart of Florida Power and Light's property, a hidden pocket of prehistoric Florida remains.
Purchased by FPL during the 1970s, this peninsula from the past sits right in the middle of the power-plant's cooling pond.
"FPL collects that seepage and pumps it back into the cooling pond...with the exception of around the swamp, which gets pumped back into the swamp, so we're able to manipulate that water level," said Chuck Barrowclough, the Executive Director of the Treasured Lands Foundation.
The Treasured Lands Foundation is partnering with FPL to keep the gates open, and bring the joy of nature back to Martin County.
"Having not been open to the public for ten years, there was some structural work that needed to be done with the boardwalk. Probably the biggest challenge was dealing with the exotic and nuisance vegetation, that had come in over that nine to ten year period," said Barrowclough.
Donations and a small army of volunteers are helping to keep the ancient wetlands area alive amidst the surrounding development.
In 2001, a security mandate from the Department of Homeland Security closed the gates on the swamp, and let nature take its course.
Now, the park is re-opening for tours, and Treasured Lands hopes its bus will be swamped with people.
"It gives people a connection back to nature, something that I think is lost a lot in people's lives," said Barrowclough.
The next step for the Treasured Lands Foundation is to create a relationship with the Martin County School Board, to help foster an interest in the outdoors, and create future stewards of nature.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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