Trapper Nelson came to the area in the 1930s and lived off the land by trapping and selling furs. He was a loner for the most part, who found security in this area and a way of life that was suited to his skills and temperament. He quickly became famous as the “Wildman of the Loxahatchee”. Yet, with his limited education, he managed to make a living, built a much-visited wildlife zoo and acquired large land interests. After his death in 1968, the state acquired his land, preserving his home and grounds for future generations to enjoy.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park offers the unique historical site of Trapper Nelson’s. Over the years, he built log cabins, a Seminole Indian “Chickee” shelter, a wildlife zoo and planted lush tropical gardens for visitors to enjoy.
The Loxahatchee Queen II docks at the Trapper Nelson site where passengers are met by a Park Ranger who guides them through the cabins and grounds once belonging to the “Wildman of the Loxahatchee.” Or you can canoe to the site and picnic under the “Chickee” shelter and then leisurely stroll the area on a self guided tour. This site is accessible only by the water.
Note: Trapper Nelson’s is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.