“created by native Americans”
The Shell Mound Unit of Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge is adjacent to Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge. This unique feature was created by archaic period Eastern Woodland Indian cultures by discarding oyster and clam shells they used as a food source. The area was inhabited by this culture for at least 1,000 years from about 450 to 1,800 years ago. Once used as a source of materials for road construction (prior to Refuge ownership) the mound is now protected from all but foot traffic, attracting about 60,000 visitors per year, yet it never seems like anyone else is there. This is a sea kayakers playground, a shallow ocean area often only inches deep over hidden oyster bars, located among barrier islands and thick with wildlife. For inexperienced sea kayakers, these serene waters are a safe, accessible place to get comfortable with ocean kayaking without the interference of constant motor boat traffic. Experienced kayakers will love the area for its tranquil beauty or as a jump off point for greater adventures, such as paddling five miles up the coast to the Suwannee River, or wilderness camping on Clark Island, just an hour paddle north of Shell Mound.
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Shell Mound Park
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