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taking a shine to the nation’s first solar
correction: An earlier version of this cheap Canada Goose article stated that the autonomous shuttle was designed by transit company Transdev. In fact, the shuttle was designed by EasyMile and is operated by Transdev.
Canada Goose online A model home at, billed buy canada goose jacket cheap as the country’s first solar powered town, in Southwest Florida. (DD/Selina Kok) Canada Goose online
canada goose deals Along a dirt road leading into Florida’s past, I stopped to marvel at its future, or at least one vision of it. I was headed to Eco Tours, where visitors pay to tour a working ranch and swampy backwoods on a state owned preserve, when I pulled over to peer through a chain link fence onto the edge of a spectacular sea of solar panels 343,000 to be exact, stretching across some 440 acres. canada goose deals
canada goose store While the 75 megawatt facility owned by Florida Power Light attracts no fanfare here, a few miles down State Road 31 its primary customer,, has been making headlines for a while. The master planned development in Southwest Florida, between Punta Gorda and Fort Myers, touts itself Canada Goose online as the nation’s first solar powered town. It welcomed its first residents in January and hopes to reach 500 by the end of the year. Eventually, some 50,000 people are expected to live in its neighborhoods, scattered around a Town Center and commercial district. canada goose store
‘s official grand opening is March 10, nearly a year after its « soft opening, » which drew upward of 20,000 visitors. The curious can stop canada goose by anytime to visit the information center, tour model homes and canada goose outlet even hitch a ride on a self driving shuttle, which will eventually be part of what is being hailed as the nation’s first autonomous shuttle network.
[From canopy walk to gator filled waters, this Florida park offers wildlife aplenty]
canada goose clearance On a springlike day in late December, I checked out both the ranch and the town, which felt a little like hopping from Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Jungle Cruise over to uk canada goose Epcot’s Project Tomorrow. It might be tempting to pit the land against the town in a battle of preservation vs. development, but the story is not so simple. For one thing, canada goose factory sale the land isn’t pristine. was owned by Edward Babcock, a lumber baron and former Pittsburgh mayor who bought the spread in 1914. In the 1930s, Edward’s son, Fred, added vegetable farming and an earlier incarnation of swamp tours. canada goose clearance
The Eco Tours swamp buggy drives through swaths of cypress stands. (DD/Selina Kok)
In 2005, Fred’s heirs, who died in 1997, sold their 91,000 acres to Florida developer Syd Kitson, who then sold off 73,000 acres of the land to the state in a $350 million transaction heralded cheap canada goose uk at the time as Florida’s biggest ever preservation deal.
The result was a parcel of conservation land now called Preserve, where the tours are held. In 2016, the state turned over much of the land management to Tarpon Blue, a private cattle company, and announced plans to increase recreational offerings. For canada goose clearance sale now, there is the swamp tour a 1.5 mile walking trail and 16 miles of equestrian trails.
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I started my visit at the preserve, which includes a gift shop and rustic buy canada goose jacket restaurant, and hopped aboard a « swamp buggy » (a stripped down school bus in camouflage paint) to explore some of Florida’s flora and fauna. A couple of dozen tourists, from kids to grandparents, bounced along dirt roads and forest floors, and splashed through swamps as our Canada Goose Coats On Sale guide and driver, Terry Covert, canada goose coats expertly spotted wildlife among Canada Goose Online the scrub palmettos, slash pines and sabal palms and broomsedge.
We had traveled only for a couple of minutes before the first shriek worthy sighting.
canada goose « Look at those little alligator hatchlings, » Covert said, stopping the bus so we could peer excitedly out http://www.canadagoosesalesus.com the open windows. canada goose
canada goose coats on sale A congregation of adorable baby gators piled atop each other in the sun along a swampy area, no doubt with an alert mother nearby. canada goose coats on sale
canada goose clearance sale A cyclist rides the 1.75 mile walking and canadian goose jacket cycling trail around Sunset Lake at. (DD/Selina Kok) canada goose clearance sale
cheap Canada Goose « We remember those from last year, » said my seat neighbor Robert Montgomery of nearby North Port. Montgomery said he brings all his visitors here; on that day, he hosted friends from Michigan. cheap Canada Goose
canada goose black friday sale « I love it here because this is as close to the original Florida as you can get, at Canada Goose Outlet least from my childhood, » Montgomery, 64, said. « I used to spend all my time in the woods. » canada goose black friday sale
Canada Goose Jackets As we drove deeper Canada Goose Jackets into the ranch, Covert pointed out a bevy of birds, including sandhill cranes, egrets, anhingas, various herons and a red shouldered hawk. More screams of delight erupted as a canada goose black friday sale pack of feral pigs improbably ran toward the bus. Canada Goose Jackets
« Good morning, babies! » Covert hollered while tossing handfuls of corn feed out the open door, which explained their interest in us. Later, some « cracker cattle, » a historic breed, occasionally joined the noshing. (The ranch mostly raises Brahman, a popular beef cattle breed.)
buy canada goose jacket At one canada goose uk outlet point, we were let out to walk a short boardwalk over a swamp dotted Canada Goose Parka with cypress trees and knees leading to an enclosure holding a Florida panther. Covert told us how a wild female panther and two kittens recently had been sighted on the ranch a positive sign for the endangered species. buy canada goose jacket
Back on the bus, we canada goose uk black friday passed a swampy lake teeming with gators sliding across the surface and sunning on the shores, the largest group I’d seen outside of the Everglades.
Canada Goose Parka It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d also see gators at, the town, but a couple of hours later, walking around Sunset Lake near the main entrance, I spotted a few in the water. I also saw herons, egrets and sandhill cranes, though construction cranes and the beep beep beep of equipment backing up are just as noticeable for now. Ultimately, half the project’s 18,000 acres will be reserved for parks, wetlands and lakes. Canada Goose Parka
Alligator sightings such as this one are typical during the ‘s Eco Tours. (DD/Selina Kok)
canada goose coats is very much in its infancy, and has that sparse, new development look. The autonomous shuttle, designed by EasyMile and operated by the transit company Transdev, hadn’t yet launched, so I missed out on that fun, but uk canada goose outlet I did visit the Town Center, called Founder’s Square. That houses a cluster of commerce, including an outdoors outfitter, upscale general store and cafe, ice cream shop and Table Tap, a farm to table restaurant situated on the shore of 268 acre Lake Babcock, as well as a waterfront park with band shell. A health and wellness center is scheduled to open in March. canada goose coats
canadian goose jacket Visitors can stop by the Discovery Center, a hybrid showroom and solar environmental center filled with displays by developer Kitson canada goose coats on sale Partners and Florida Power Light. Throughout the day, « town canada goose store ambassadors » give touch screen presentations hawking the development and its rollout of homes and businesses. Visitors also may check out solar and community kiosks on their own. canadian goose jacket
Canada Goose Outlet Houses start in the low $220,000s and go much higher. Lower priced townhouses, condos and even apartments are in plans. I popped into a couple of luxury model homes, whose builders must meet the minimum level of Florida Green Building Coalition standards. Amenities in the model homes were pretty basic, but Kitson is also adding green and futuristic touches, including high speed fiber optic cable to every home; underground power lines; native vegetation; sustainable water management; a bike share system; community garden (which the restaurant has already put into good use); and a growing network of bike paths and walking trails. The town square area is dotted with lime green « solar trees » that capture and transmit energy. Canada Goose Outlet
The day I visited, a father and his two sons, who live in nearby Fort Myers Shores, were using the bike share and trails. The children attend school at the Babcock Neighborhood School, a charter school that opened last fall on the square. Even though school was out for the holidays, the three were here to cycle canada goose clearance a 1.75 mile path around Sunset Lake. The boys, Gunnar and Magnus Johansson, ages 12 and 11 respectively, were used to talking to visitors, they said.