By Camille Lamb
By Hannah Sentenac
By Zachary Fagenson
By Emily Codik
By Laine Doss
By New Times Staff
By New Times Staff
"A place as busy as this could really become a mess without good management," said an alligator to another one evening in the mangroves of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
"Yeah, I noticed one night them restrooms were cleaner than you'd normally expect, at least for Homo sapiens' restrooms."
"Yep. Quite clean. They were actually stocked with soap and paper."
"The Lighthouse Café over yonder is not too intrusive either. I kinda like the design."
"Lots of wood. Blends right in. Kind of reminds me of the beach at Cape Cod. The café is a little crowded on the weekends, but that must mean they got something mighty tasty in there."
"They'd probably be scared if we went, though. They'd think we'd eat them."
"But we wouldn't."
"No, sir. Strictly frogs and birds. Maybe an occasional poodle."
"They'd probably try to eat us."
"As long as they stay on the trails or on the beach, I think we'll be okay."
"I heard they don't give out straws at the café because they found out that when straws blow into the ocean, they hurt the aquatic animals. Now that's another sign of good management."
"Yeah, the place has come along way. Especially considering that amazing tornado we had back in '92."
"Tornado Andrew I think they called it."
"The humans did a nice job on the restoration. They looked at some historical photos and put in a lot of native plants like sea oats, sea grapes, spike rush, mangroves, and saw grass. That's pretty much why I came back."
"Me too. I love that saw grass. You notice how a lot more water birds started showing up?"
"A couple of crocodiles even came back."
"Are they the gray ones with the tapered snouts?"
"Yep, but they're harmless. As long as you stay away from their kids."
"Who is the manager anyway?"
"A guy named Niblock. Lee Niblock. Been superintendent since October '94. He recently helped get the state to change the place from recreation area to park, which means only twenty percent can be used for human recreation. You know, like parking and eating. Lately he's been trying to keep a group from building some baseball fields in here on 30 acres."
"Must be a good man."