Volunteers clean up Bear Lake Canoe path
The Bear Lake Canoe Trail once was a once popular fishing destination near the Flamingo area of Everglades National Park, but hurricanes years ago rendered it nearly impassible. To the rescue: two dozen enthused volunteers who joined five self-described “Swamp Apes” to remove fallen trees and debris that blocked portions of the trail. Along the way, they got lessons about mangrove habitat and Everglades wildlife. Operating in heavy rain at times, which kept mosquitoes somewhat at bay, the good Samaritans, decked out in protective bug gear in the jungle-like swampy environment, split into three groups to prepare the 3.6-mile canoe trail for the upcoming busy winter season. Tom Rahill, founder of the “Swap Apes’’ group of volunteers and organizer of the clean-up, said it was a “major success.’’ Rahill hopes to set up a statewide wilderness clean-up crew and incorporate returning military veterans into the mission.