Crane Point Hammock
In 1989, the Florida Keys Land Trust made one of the largest conservation purchases in the group’s history: a 63-acre tract of land that had been slated to be turned into a shopping mall and housing development. Walking around those 63 acres today, in its current form as Crane Point Hammock (55500 Overseas Hwy., 305/743-9100, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun., $11 adults, $9 seniors, $7 children, children 5 and under free), you can only be convinced that it was a smart buy.
The vast tropical landscape is one of the best places to get a sense of the Keys’ ecological diversity, with mangrove forests, tidal lagoons, thatch palm hammocks, wetlands, and hardwood hammocks; the operators of the Land Trust have taken care to make the area accessible via boardwalks and nature trails without diminishing the natural beauty of the property.
There are two museums on-site—the Museum of Natural History and the Florida Keys Children’s Museum—which give further interpretive context to the flora and fauna throughout Crane Point, and archaeological spots like Cracker houses and a restored Bahamian village provide insight into the people who once lived here.
While the natural beauty is certainly exceptional, even among islands that have pronounced natural beauty, a visit to Crane Point is not only personally edifying but also supportive of a great conservationist mission.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition