In case you missed it, Everglades National Park opened both Joe Bay and Snag Bay back up to the public on November 24, 2016. This is the first time in more than 30 years these bays have been opened to the public. Joe Bay, which is adjacent to Snag Bay in the park, is now the area’s first “catch-and-release” fishing area.
In the 2015 General Management Plan, it was decided to re-open the bays. The bays are reopened with proper protection; it will also provide a new experience for visitors.
The bays were closed to help restore the declining American Crocodile population, which was near extinction. Since the number of crocodiles has risen, the Park decided it was time to reopen the bay.
These bays can be access from Trout Cove and Trout Creek. To enter the bay area, people must use a paddle or push pole. If people want to enter the area by boat, they need to remove combustion engines and/or trolling motors from the transom and/or bow before going into Joe and Snag Bay. The bays are now no-motor zones. In all areas, people are asked to follow rules to protect the shallow water areas. People can explore the bay in kayaks and canoes.
Joe Bay and Snag Bay were part of the Crocodile Sanctuary until it closed in 1980 to the public to protect the crocodiles, along with other endangered species. There are still other areas of the sanctuary that are closed to the public.
Explore the Everglades
The Everglades are full of bays and creeks for people to explore, as long as they follow Park rules and respect the wildlife and plant life in the area. The reopening of these bays show a victory in conservation efforts in the Everglades. If you’re looking to explore the Everglades in another way, try an airboat tour. To book a tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click here.