Description & History:
A visit to Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a journey into the heart of the Everglades ecosystem. Discover the rugged beauty of this famed natural area on Corkscrew’s famous boardwalk – a 2.5-mile adventure through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh, and finally into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America.
Located about 30 minutes east of Naples, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is home to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer, and red-bellied turtles. A wide variety of wading birds, songbirds, raptors and the fabulous Painted Bunting can be seen throughout the year. Visitors to Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary will find a gentle, pristine wilderness that dates back more than 500 years. Photo opportunities are available at every turn of the boardwalk trail.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary occupies approximately 13,000 acres in the heart of the Corkscrew Watershed in Southwest Florida, part of the Western Everglades. It is primarily composed of wetlands. These include the largest remaining virgin bald cypress forest in the world (approximately 700 acres), which is the site of the largest nesting colony of Federally Endangered Wood Storks in the nation. In addition to the wood stork, Corkscrew provides important habitat for numerous other Federal and State listed species, including the Florida Panther, American Alligator, Gopher Tortoise, Florida Sandhill Crane, Limpkin, Roseate Spoonbill, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Big Cypress Fox Squirrel and the Florida Black Bear. Several rare plants are also found here, most notably the Ghost Orchid.
The story of how Corkscrew Swamp became an Audubon Sanctuary is one of the important conservation successes of our time. National Audubon began protecting the wading birds nesting within Corkscrew Swamp in 1905. During the 1940’s and 50’s, cypress forests in Florida were being leveled for their timber. At the time, Corkscrew was isolated and almost impossible to access. Today it is an oasis in a made-over landscape.
In other areas, many of the wild swamps and much of the teeming wildlife, that were characteristic of this region less than a generation ago, are gone. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s value thus becomes more significant with every passing year. Your visit and admission fees help us preserve it for generations to come. The natural biological systems, which expand over 14,000 acres at Corkscrew, are maintained through land management practices to sustain native plants and animals found here and to preserve the natural processes that have been occurring for thousands of years.
Corkscrew provides an important connection for wildlife and water to coastal habitat in the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve and Delnor-Wiggins State Park via the Estero, Imperial and Cocohatchee rivers. It also provides connectivity to important habitat in SE Lee County as well as the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and the Big Cypress National Preserve to the South via Camp Keais Strand.
Corkscrew is in a strategically important location, and the quality of the natural resources here provides excellent habitat for wildlife. Our wetlands recharge the local aquifers, rivers and estuaries, providing the right conditions for fishing and coastal recreation as well as clean drinking water and water for agricultural productivity.
In 2000, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary including Panther Island received a Ramsar Designation as a Wetland of International Importance. Corkscrew is also a designated Important Bird Area and a major stop on the Florida Birding Trail.
Admission is good for two back-to-back days with your receipt. Ticket prices include self-guided access to the boardwalk and Blair Audubon Visitor Center.
Adult: $ 14.00
Full-time college student with photo ID: $ 6.00
National Audubon Society member with membership card: $ 10.00
Student (6-18 years old): $ 4.00
Children under 6: free