December 21, 2012
Jonathan Dickinson State Park(JDSP) established in 1950 covers over 11,500 acres of beautiful habitat, which includes sand pine scrub, pine flat woods, mangroves, and river swamps. The Loxahatchee River, Florida’s first federally designated wild and scenic river runs through the park.
An interesting bit of history about JDSP is that during WWII the army established a top secret radar training school called Camp Murphy that was located on current park property. Land had been quickly and summarily purchased or condemned and taken from landowners in order to conduct this training. (I guess once taken it is never given back.)
More than 1,000 buildings quickly sprang up and more than 6,000 personnel were stationed at the camp, which had its own power plants, sewer system, church and theater. Camp Murphy was shut down after only two years of operation.
I now realize why there are so many old paved and unused roads throughout the park. They were built when the Army built Camp Murphy and are used today as biking, hiking and walking paths.
Everyday, we have the pleasure of experiencing the varied terrain that these park trails have to offer. In years past we have seen river otter, snakes, alligators, rabbits and numerous species of birds including the Florida Scrub Jay. We have heard, but have not seen coyotes and find evidence of wild pigs also never seen in the park, but have seen them along the highway.
Hopefully, through these photos you will get a feel for this unique and beautiful park.