Tour Jungle Trail and Pelican Island with Historical Society

VERO BEACH — The Indian River County Historical Society moves to the barrier island for its third tour of historic sites in its series “Telling Tales.”  This tour, scheduled for Saturday, January 15 from 1 to 3 pm, features the Jungle Trail Greenway and the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. The Jungle Trail is a narrow, unpaved seven-mile stretch of the first road on the barrier island.  The original road was begun in 1920 and built mostly by hand during the 1930s.  It served the growing population on the barrier island.  When development threatened the road in the 1980s, the Historical Society rallied public support to preserve the road as a greenway.  Today, the Jungle Trail passes through old citrus groves, shell middens and coastal hammocks, offering a glimpse of old Florida and its ecological diversity.  County historian Ruth Stanbridge will serve as tour guide.

The tour continues at the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge — the first in the nation — established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.  Pelican Island itself is a rookery for pelicans, storks, herons and other birds; it lies across the Indian River Lagoon from Sebastian.  Originally just three acres, the Refuge was expanded in the 1980s through  the generosity and vision of the Michael family, early settlers on the island. Today, the Refuge consists of several thousand acres of river bottom and uplands on the west side of the barrier island, where visitors can observe bird species and other wildlife.  Anne Michael will be on hand to offer behind-the-scenes glimpses into the development of the Refuge.

The tour will begin at 1 pm at the Pelican Island Viewing Area, which can be reached from the north end of the Jungle Trail off A1A.

Tickets for this event are $15 for Historical Society members and $20 for nonmembers.  Reservations are recommended.

For reservations and more information, call 772-778-3435 or 772-562-6790.

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