Scenic USA - Florida

Canaveral Marshes Conservation Area

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Canaveral Marshes - Brevard County, Florida

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Florida's St. Johns River has been Entrance Sign - Canaveral Marshes, Brevard County, Florida labeled with several different names during the past, beginning with the River of Lakes named by 16th century Timucuan Indians. When some of the first Spanish explorers passed through the area they called it Rio de Corrientes (river of currents). After Spain regained control of Florida from French, the river was renamed San Juan del Puerto (St Johns River). But none of the names were Lazy River, which would be most fitting as it drops less than 30 feet over its 310 mile journey to the Atlantic Ocean.
     The Upper River Basin, located in central Florida, is fed mostly by rain water. In the spring, drought slows the river to Bald Eagle - Canaveral Marshes, Brevard County, Floridaa dwadling pace, water levels retreat to their lowest levels and the riverbanks become increasingly exposed. During late summer and early autumn when tropical weather peaks, the river may receive over five feet of rain. During periods of heavy thunderstorms and tropical downpours runoff flows into the river and eventually spills out over its banks. The flood plain area surrounding the river swells, holding an unimaginable amount of water. Whitetail Doe - Canaveral Marshes, Brevard County, Florida Where the Upper St Johns River channel averages about 30 feet in width, the rain-swollen river may widen for as much as three miles.
      Canaveral Marshes Conservation Area was designed to protect this huge floodplain, covering nearly 25 miles of shoreline of the Upper Basin. While most its 12,644 acres are only reachable by boat, a section of Canaveral Marshes is accessible on foot, bike or horseback in the Titusville area. For those up for a hike, the trailhead is located west of I-95 on SR 50. The marshes offer a mix of habitats for Florida wildlife, and most resident wading birds, otters, waterfowl and alligators may be spotted from the river. Inland, in the Marshes Area, access roads and trails offer visitors a chance to see rattlesnakes, coral snakes, eastern indigos, gopher tortoises, bald eagles, deer, and perhaps a very rare glimpse of a Florida panther.

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