Hickory Hammock, Florida Trail, 2019.

Early morning light spills across moss-draped live oaks along an old section of the Florida Trail in the Hickory Hammock Wildlife Management Area.

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Hickory Hammock, Florida Trail, 2019.

Early morning light spills across moss-draped live oaks along an old section of the Florida Trail in the Hickory Hammock Wildlife Management Area. Saw palmettos spread along the ground, creating a well-defined trail corridor beneath the woven oak canopy. Both the oak and the palmetto are hardy, long-lived plants that thrive in the sandy soil bordering the Kissimmee River floodplains.

Once channelized for flood control by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Kissimmee River is an example of the significant benefits gained by river restoration. As a canal, more than 90 percent of the waterfowl disappeared, as well as hundreds of native fish and wetland-dependent animals. Since restoration began in 1999, seasonal rains and a partially re-established river have brought back the historic floodplain-dependent ecosystem, along with native wetland plants, wading birds, sandhill cranes, bald eagles and many threatened and endangered species.

This was made with a Calumet 4×5 monorail camera using Ilford FP4+ film, 125 ISO, and scanned with an Epson Perfection v850 Pro. Ilex-Calumet 215mm Lens. Shot at Hickory Hammock WMA along the Kissimmee River in Highlands County, Florida on December 15, 2019.

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