The East Main Tram

Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Copeland, Collier County

east main tram

We've been driving long enough. Time to experience Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park on foot as we reach the East Main Tram, one of the major trails running through the park. A quick bit of history: logging began in Fakahatchee at the height of World War II to supply lumber for the war effort. Loggers needed a way to move timber out of the swamp and to market as quickly and efficiently as possible so they built a network levees a few feet above the surrounding swamp upon which they constructed trams, or railroads, throughout Fakahatchee. In all, 192 miles of trams were built. A decade of logging exhausted Fakahatchee's supply of old-growth cypress, and Florida bought the land in 1974. When Florida established the state park, it allowed some of the old trams to grow over naturally, but made use of others, like the East Main, as hikng and biking trails, the ties and rails gone. Sort of like turning lemons into lemonade. Here, the trail is about the width of a one-lane road but feels tighter as vegetation encroaches; royal palms stand above the dense canopy on the east side, the waters of the swamp apparent on the west. Hike far enough up the trail and you'll reach the Fakahatchee Hilton, a privately owned camp and landmark within the park. NEXT STOP: Wild, Wild Fakahatchee


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Photographs by David Sedore. Photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without permission.