Historic Markers Across Florida

Trapper Nelson Interpretive Site

Marker ID: FLHM F-615
Location: 16450 SE Federal Hwy, Hobe Sound, FL
County: Martin
Coordinates: N 26° 58.577    W 080° 9.798
  26.97628333    -80.1633
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


Trapper Nelson Interpretive Site

When he arrived from New Jersey in the early 1930s, Vincent Natulkiewicz, also known as Vince “Trapper" Nelson found the area still teeming with wildlife. For decades he lived off the land, supplementing his diet of raccoon, gopher tortoise, and opossum with fruit from his citrus grove. In addition to trapping he made his living by developing a business that he called “Trapper's Zoo and Jungle Garden." His docks, cages, cabins and shelters were hand made from pine trees. While he lived there, Trapper introduced hundreds of tourists and local visitors to the river's mystery and beauty, building the image of Eden in South Florida. Trapper Nelson lived in his camp until his mysterious death in 1968. The Trapper Nelson Interpretive Site is a rare survivor of a formerly common building type, exemplary of a vanished occupation and lifestyle, enhanced by its location in equally rare pristine woodland. Trapper Nelson actively engaged in efforts to preserve the Loxahatchee River and to protect his ownership of large tracts along its banks. Trapper's estate was sold by his family to a developer. The Florida Park Service acquired the estate through a land swap and maintains and protects the site for future generations to enjoy.

A Florida Heritage Site

F-615 Sponsored by Friends of the Jonathan Dickinson State park
and the Florida Department of State