|Jonathan Dickinson State Park|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
|Location||Martin County, Florida, United States|
|Nearest city||Hobe Sound / Tequesta, Florida|
|Area||11,500 acres (47 km2)|
|Visitors||172,000 (in 2004)|
|Governing body||Florida Department of Environmental Protection|
Jonathan Dickinson State Park is a Florida State Park and historic site located in Martin County, Florida, between Hobe Sound and Tequesta. The park includes the Elsa Kimbell Environmental Education and Research Center and a variety of natural habitats: sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, mangroves, and river swamps. The Loxahatchee River, designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1985 (the first in Florida), runs through the park. The park is also along the Ocean to Lake Trail. The park is at 16450 S.E. Federal Highway, Hobe Sound.
The park is named after Jonathan Dickinson, a Quaker merchant who was shipwrecked in 1696, with his family and others, on the Florida coast near the present-day park. He wrote a journal describing their encounters with local tribes, and their journey up the coast to St. Augustine.
A man known as Trapper Nelson homesteaded on the banks of the Loxahatchee River after coming to the area in the 1930s, living off the land trapping and selling furs. He soon became known as the Wildman of the Loxahatchee. After he died in 1968 the state acquired his land, and deeded it to the park.
The United States Army established Camp Murphy, a top-secret radar training school, in the area that is now the park, in 1942. The camp included over 1,000 buildings, and housed more than 6,000 officers and soldiers. The camp was deactivated in 1944, after only two years of operation. Most of the camp buildings were torn down, but some of the building foundations remain. The property was transferred to the State of Florida in 1947, and opened as a state park in 1950.
The park has such amenities as bicycling, boat tours, boating, cabins, canoeing, fishing, hiking, horse trails, kayaking, picnicking areas, swimming, wildlife viewing and full camping facilities. It also has the Elsa Kimbell Environmental Education and Research Center, with exhibits about the park's natural and cultural history. The park operates a 44-passenger boat for tours of Trapper Nelson's homestead.
Yellow-crowned night heron on Kitching Creek
Ibis on the Loxahatchee
Pileated woodpecker on Kitching Creek
Great blue heron on the Loxahatchee
Raccoons, though cute, can be pesky
An alligator on the Loxahatchee