Sunday, April 16, 2017

Highland Hammock SP–Sebring, FL

Highland Hammock State Park is a beautiful spot to spend some time.  It was originally established by the local community back in 1931, and was improved by the Civilian Conservation Corp during the great depression.  Many (if not all) of the original improvements by the CCC can still be seen today.

Our campsite
Tina enjoying a lazy afternoon

Woodpecker-3

Our campsite must have been surrounded by woodpecker nests; we saw no fewer than three pairs of birds moving from tree to tree.  One of the pairs seemed to be very interested in a tree that was right next to us.

Museum Display-4On our first afternoon, we visited the CCC museum just outside of the campground.  In addition  displays of different artifacts, there are several full size dioramas, and three different videos that they show in a small theater.  The CCC is really an amazing piece of our history.  Even though many aspects of the “New Deal” were criticized, the CCC rarely received opposition.  It’s interesting to wonder how our current government would react to a project like this.

To get a feel for the quality of work that the CCC did, one just needs to see the from 1935.  Comparing that map to a map of the park today, even the hiking trails that were improved can still be seen.

Original CCC map and new map
1935 Map with Current Paper Map

Fossilized ShellAcross the parking area from the CCC Museum is the Hammock Inn.  It is currently being renovated and will open with a restaurant, and is currently only a camp store.  Inside the inn there is a display case with a fossilized tortoise shell that was found somewhere in the park.  Old Grader

On one of the evenings of our stay, a local rancher who traces his family back five or six generations in Florida (yep – pre-USA) came to the campground to give a short lecture on the history of the area.  His family was one of the families that founded the area, and he shared some really interesting stories that had been passed down through the generations.

There is a lot to see and do at this park, including hiking and biking, and the tram tour is a fantastic sixty-ninety minute trip led by one of the park rangers.

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