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http://floridamemory.com > Garden of Eden - early pictures

The Garden of Eden Trail in the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve

Florida’s Garden of Eden

Paradise is a fictional town. However, the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve we refer to in our story really does exist.

The Preserve is on the east side of the Apalachicola River in the Florida Panhandle, just north of the town of Bristol. It protects one of the rarest of habitats: steephead streams and ravines – a unique and diverse ecosystem that provides shelter habitat for rare, delicate and imperiled species of animals and plants, some found nowhere else on earth.

Local legend claims the Preserve is the biblical Garden of Eden because the Apalachicola River is a four-headed river system, as described in Genesis, and the rare Torreya taxifolia tree, an ancient yew species, also known as the gopher wood tree (the wood Noah used for the Ark), grows here.

The preserve is home to bald eagles; Mississippi and swallow-tailed kites; wild turkeys; worm-eating, hooded and Swainson's warblers; Apalachicola dusky salamanders; fire-back crayfish; cottontail rabbits; white-tailed deer; wild turkeys; gopher tortoises; Sherman’s fox squirrels and various snakes, including the eastern indigo and eastern diamondback rattlesnake.

The Preserve is managed by the Nature Conservancy and visitors can hike the Garden of Eden Trail to Alum Bluff, 135’ above the Apalachicola river. (see picture at right)

Alum Bluff overlooking the Apalachicola River