We came to this area to visit Kennedy Space Center, but the closest campsite that had openings was about an hour south. When we were driving down A1A , Russ remarked that it was the nicest coastal highway he had ever driven. For 26 miles there are no stoplights or restaurant chains – just quiet residential neighborhoods interspersed with large natural areas leading to the ocean and the river.
In 1990, the good people of Brevard County took it upon themselves to create the Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, and voted to tax themselves up to $55 million to acquire and maintain the county’s natural areas. In 2004 a second referendum was easily passed that added another $60 million in support of the EEL Program which now manages 19 sanctuaries in the county.
The first national wildlife refuge created to protect nesting sea turtles is located at Barrier Island Sanctuary. This 20-mile stretch of protected beach is the prime place in the western hemisphere for sea turtle research, conservation and nesting. A 500% increase in green turtle nests make this one of the most successful marine conservation projects ever.
These ancient creatures (contemporaries of the dinosaurs) live to be 100+ years old, coming into maturity around 25. Though each nest usually has over 100 eggs, only one in a thousand hatchlings survives once they enter the ocean. We lucked out by showing up right before two young rehabbed loggerheads were being sent back home to the sea.