Trek Crosses Largest Remaining Longleaf Pine Landscape

Author Doug Alderson paddles with the expedition team on a section of the Blackwater River. The Blackwater is a key piece of a protected wildlife corridor connecting nearly 1 million acres.

Author Doug Alderson paddles with the expedition team on a section of the Blackwater River. The Blackwater is a key piece of a protected wildlife corridor connecting nearly 1 million acres in the Western Panhandle and Southeast Alabama.

Daybreak in the Longleaf Pine Forest

14 March 2015: Morning light pouring into a longleaf pine forest finds filmmaker Jeff Reed dangling 25 feet off the ground, suspended in his tree-climbing harness, steadying the long range zoom lens on his RED Epic camera. A small missile darts from a silver dollar-sized hole in the trunk of an adjacent pine tree. Reed tracks it with his lens, and below him a group of onlookers set aside coffee mugs and press binoculars to upturned faces. In moments we hear the telltale call of a red-cockaded woodpecker. Her brood emerges minutes later, following from tree to tree as they forage for insects along the massive trunks. Flakes of bark leap from the canopy as they work, calling to each other incessantly.

Cameraman Jeff Reed dangles in the midstory of a mature longleaf pine/wiregrass forest, filming red-cockaded woodpeckers.

The red-cockaded woodpecker is a central character in the story of the longleaf pine ecosystem. Reed and his colleagues from Grizzly Creek Films have accompanied the 2015 #Glades2Gulf Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition throughout its 10 weeks and 1000 miles. The many days of hiking, paddling, and biking the corridor have lead the expedition into the far western corner of Florida, where we’ve come into a landscape richer in biodiversity than almost any in the world. The story of these woodpeckers is just one window into an ecosystem that once spanned 90 million acres of the Southeastern United States, and yet by dint of its disappearance, now is host to perhaps 100 species of concern and 20 federally —> Read More

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