Enchanted Forest Sanctuary continues to captivate visitors
The Enchanted Forest Sanctuary Management & Education Center is a secret to many Brevard County residents.
Senior Life photo
Recently, I escorted a perky Brevard school teacher and group of inquisitive Satellite High School seniors on an educational experience to the nearby Enchanted Forest Sanctuary Management & Education Center.
We arrived at the Sanctuary at 10 a.m., right when it opened. The Center’s building houses interpretive educational exhibits, two 25-person capacity classrooms, offices, a fine reference library, restrooms and a creative gift shop. We were greeted by one of the Sanctuary’s talented volunteers. Volunteers guide and inform visitors to the many features and educational activities that are offered.
The Sanctuary offers the public at no cost, outstanding opportunities for field trips, research projects, wildlife observation, nature photography, hiking, exploring and top-notch teacher training seminars.
Following our visit to the Center, we started walking and enjoying the beauty of the Coquina Trail in this wonderful 470-acre forest. There is an outstanding wealth of diverse plant life along the trail. Wildlife species that can be seen here include the Eastern indigo snake, Florida scrub lizard, gopher tortoise, white-tailed deer and bobcat.
Of great interest for me and our group were the remains of the Addison Ellis Canal that ran alongside the Coquina Trail. This canal was started in 1912 (108-plus years ago.) The reason for digging the canal then was for irrigation use and to connect the St. Johns River on the west to the Indian River Lagoon.
Digging east from the St. Johns River in the marshes and sand proved to be no problem for the company. They then ran into stiff resistance in the Enchanted Forest. Here, the coquina rock ridge offered an insurmountable obstacle. Their steam shovels, some say was abandoned French equipment used to build the Panama Canal, could not dig through the very hard coquina rock and broke down. The Addison Canal Company then could not find investors to fund the project and obtain new equipment and the company went bankrupt in 1913. The canal project was never completed. The actual remains of the Ellis Addison Canal runs for miles and stops in the Enchanted Forest. I found this to be a fascinating story. The remains of the canal in the Enchanted Forest are truly a sight to behold.
Right here in our backyard, we have this gem of a destination that offers your entire family hours of learning about the diversity of the natural habitats found right here in our accommodating Brevard County.
The Enchanted Forest Sanctuary is located at 444 Columbia Blvd. in Titusville.