Chekika Reopens January 6, 2007
Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA -- Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan Kimball is pleased to announce that after seven years the park will reopen the Chekika day use area. On Saturday, January 6, 2007, the park will host a ribbon cutting event at 10 A.M in the Chekika picnic area. The event is open to the public and Congressman Mario Diaz Balart along with several dignitaries from Homestead and Florida City have been invited to attend.
Chekika is an area of Everglades National Park located closest to Miami on 237th Avenue. Its popular picnic area will be open from dawn to dusk on a seasonal basis from December through April each year. The area offers a boardwalk, wildlife viewing, picnic shelters, barbecue grills, a nature trail and portable restroom facilities.
Chekika is steeped in historical significance. Its name is derived from a famous Seminole Indian, Chief Chekika. During the Seminole Indian wars chief Chekika used a tree island similar to the one at Chekika as a staging point for the raid on Indian Key in 1842 that killed Dr. Henry Perrine. Troops from Ft. Dallas in Miami, led by Col. Harney, later stormed the hammock and killed Chief Chekika. His body was hanged from a tree to warn other Indians. The actual tree island where Chekika was caught and hanged is about 10 miles north of present day Chekika in Everglades National Park.
Before becoming Chekika State Recreation Area in 1970, the area was a private resort called Grossman Hammock Mineral Springs, famed for a bubbling mineral spring that some believed had healing powers.
Chekika was added to Everglades National Park in 1991, along with 44,000 acres of state owned wetlands, as part of the Everglades National Park Expansion and Protection Act of 1989. Today this land plays a pivotal role in the restoration of the entire Everglades ecosystem.
Chekika was hammered by a series of hurricanes over the years --Andrew in 1992, Irene in 1999, and Wilma and Katrina in 2005 -- and had fallen into serious disrepair. There is still work to be done, but with the help of many individual volunteers and local volunteer groups, the area is now ready to open for day use.
The entrance to Chekika is located at the intersection of SW 168th Street and 237th Ave. From the intersection of Kendall Drive (SW 88th St) and Krome Avenue (SW 177th Ave.), head south to Richmond Drive (SW 168th Street). Turn right on 168th and travel west to 237th Ave. (6 miles). Turn right on 237th Ave.
Did You Know?
Soft-shell turtles may not have the protective hard covering seen on other turtles, but they make up for that with relatively greater speeds in the water. Also, their long noses are well adapted for snorkeling. These amazing animals seem perfectly built for a life in the Everglades!