I was surprised to see a Google alert pop up today about a rally going on at the Port Mayaca Florida Power & Light nuclear power plant. Back before September 11, 2001, the Barley Barber Swamp was open to the public for hiking tours led by a very knowledgable guide, who I had the pleasure of hiking with through the lesser-known wilds of Grassy Waters Preserve some years ago. Barley Barber Swamp a stand of old growth cypress north of the Dupuis-Corbett WMA complex, which is part of the Allapatta Flats, a cypress strand not unlike Big Cypress. The Ocean-to-Lake Trail passes through the flats and the cypress strand in an area known to hikers as The Hole in the Wall. It’s a beautiful spot. Access to Barley Barber was stopped as it was deemed that it was a national security risk to get anywhere near the power plant.
According to the news story on WPBF Channel 25 in West Palm Beach, a group called Everglades Earth First is camping out outside the plant in protest, demanding that FPL stop lowering the water levels in the swamp, which will in the long run permanently damage the old growth cypress. FPL claims the area will partially reopen for public access in 2010.