"Panthers once roamed throughout the Southeastern United States. Today this endangered species' breeding population is limited to south Florida, with an estimated population of 120-230 wild adults and sub-adults covering less than 5% of their historical range."
I had zero expectations of spotting a panther but expected another nice refuge when visiting here. It quickly became apparent that I was wrong which was disappointing at best. The entry path has numerous informational signs but all were pretty much unreadable do to being weathered beyond legibility. The paths were also significantly over grown and under used telling me it's not a very popular refuge. On top of these conditions I walked the path only to enjoy a quiet walk as it was also virtually free of all wildlife. I'm hoping this experience was just one of bad timing and that my next visit will be a different experience.
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge is located 20 miles east of Naples, FL at the northwest corner of the intersection of Interstate 75 and State Road 29 (I-75 exit 80). The refuge is due west of the Big Cypress National Preserve, due north of Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve and Picayune Strand State Forest, and due south of Immokalee, Florida. The refuge consists of over 26,000 acres and is located within the heart of the Big Cypress Basin, encompassing the northern reach of the Fakahatchee Strand, the largest cypress strand in the Big Cypress swamp.