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‘Spite Highway’ Now a Walk in the Woods

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Before President Lyndon Johnson signed the order making much of the present-day Biscayne National Park a national monument in 1968, a group of Elliott Key landowners planned to transform the island into a city named Islandia and a major industrial port called Seadade. Developers stood to make enormous profits on this pristine wilderness so close to the metropolis of Miami.

Conservationists had other ideas, and mounted a successful campaign to preserve Biscayne as a natural refuge. Irked by their change in fortune, owners decided to despoil Elliott Key anyway by bulldozing main street shortly before Johnson signed the order. The result: a six-lane wide, seven-mile long scar known as “Spite Highway” along the length of the key.

What was meant to deter nature-lovers has largely been reclaimed by the forest, and today, Spite Highway makes a lovely shaded trail for Biscayne BioBlitz inventory teams and others who come to explore the national park.

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Photos by Tim Greenleaf