Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary Logo
The Key Largo Woodrat is a medium-sized animal (200-260 grams) with a gray-brown back and head and white on the underside. It has a hairy tail which is one of the key characteristics to distinguish this endangered species from the exotic black rat. This Schaus' swallowtail butterfly, an endangered species, is found in the park. The park's volunteer nursery crew maintains a nursery of more than 3,000 native plants for park restoration projects. The reclaimed green space of the park is shown in this aerial photo. The park maintains many ongoing habitat restoration projects.
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
A white-crowned pigeon, member of a species indigenous to the Keys, can be found in the park's tropical hardwood hammock. Art by Robert G. Frankowiak.

History and Culture

The park was established in 1982 with land acquired by Florida's Conservation and Recreational Lands program. Now 2,421 acres on the northern third of the island of Key Largo, the park was named for Dagny Johnson, a local environmental activist, approximately one year before her death in 2003. Throughout the 1970s, `80s and `90s, Johnson led the Upper Keys Citizens Association, the Izaak Walton League and other environmental organizations that fought to stop the development that was planned for much of north Key Largo. Preservation of onshore communities was not the only purpose for protecting north Key Largo. These environmental activists also wanted to protect the coral reefs offshore from the adverse impacts of land development.

This 1988 labeled aerial shows the structures remaining in the park from the planned Port Bougainville development.

1988 Aerial

Remnants of the Port Bougainville development still existed in the park in 1988. This included roadways, parking lots, buildings and other structures. The park has removed most of these and replanted the affected areas with native plants.

This aerial view shows the green expanse of the park and the remnants of the Port Bougainville development that once stood near the main entrance.

Port Bougainville

Buildings of the former Port Bougainville development were visible prior to restoration work. Contrast this older photo with the aerial banner photo on the homepage. The park contains the largest contiguous tract of West Indian tropical hardwood hammock in the United States.

Dagny Johnson, the park¿s most notable proponent, sits in a wheelchair next to the podium at the 2001 dedication ceremony that gave the park its name.

Dedication

In 2001, the park's name was changed to honor the activist who spearheaded the citizens' group largely responsible for the state's move to acquire the property. Shown from left to right in this photo of the dedication ceremony are Dagny Johnson, State Representative Ken Sorenson and former District 5 Bureau Chief, George Jones (at microphone).

From the park¿s main entrance features the archway of Port Bougainville, a planned development halted largely by the efforts of Dagny Johnson.

Main Park Entrance

At the park's main entrance, one can take a self-guided nature walk along the paved path. No motorized vehicles are allowed beyond the parking lot, making for a quiet repose with nature.

The picnic pavilion and adjacent butterfly garden are just a quarter of a mile from the main park entrance.

Park Pavilion

The park's only picnic pavilion makes for a quiet lunch, or in this case, an exercise event staging area. Adjacent to the pavilion is a native plant butterfly garden maintained by park volunteers.