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Cross Florida Barge Canal Project

photo by Tim CaseySteven Noll and David Tegeder on Monday, July 6, 2009 at the Univeristy of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.

Ditch of Dreams

Author gives the scoop on the Cross Florida Barge Canal project at ‘Ding’ lecture

For centuries, men dreamed of cutting a canal across the Florida peninsula. Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge Canal and the Struggle for Florida’s Future, by Steven Noll and David Tegeder, examines the politics and preservation movements behind the long-running controversy. As part of the free “Ding” Darling Friday Lecture Series, Noll will present two programs about the book beginning at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday, March 4, 2016, in the free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center on Sanibel Island.

Heedless of environmental concerns, water transportation advocates consistently lobbied the federal government to connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, a project intended to place Florida at the center of American commerce and prosperity. Ditch of Dreams reveals much about the clashing visions of progress, economic growth, and environmental preservation in the fragile ecosystem of Florida, while exploring the tangled web of politics, influence, and power in the Sunshine State.

Following his presentations, Noll will sign copies of his book, which is available for purchase in the Refuge Nature Store, all proceeds of which benefit refuge wildlife and conservation and education programs.

Admission is free to the lectures.

The season’s complete schedule is listed below. Book signings follow all of the starred (*) lectures.

Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Arrive one hour early to assure seating. Early arrivals can save one seat each and then may explore the Visitor & Education Center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time or risk reassignment.

As usual, Wildlife Drive is closed on Friday, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center, Indigo Trail, and recreational opportunities at Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s official concessionaire located at its Tarpon Bay Recreation Area.

Note: Opinions expressed in guest lectures do not necessarily reflect the views of refuge and DDWS management, staff, and board of directors.

For more information, call 1-239-472-1100 ext. 241 or log on to For the schedule of the 2016 DDWS Film Series, please visit

*March 4 – Steve Noll – Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge Canal and the Struggle for Florida’s Future
*March 11 – Leslie Kemp Poole – Saving Florida: Women’s Fight for the Environment in the Twentieth Century
March 18 – Emily Stokes, – “Invasion of the Lionfish”
March 25 – Ian Bartoszek – “Pythons in Paradise: Collaborative Burmese Python Research in SW Florida”
April 1 – Joe Wiegand – “Teddy: The Conservation President” Reprisal
*April 8 – John H. Hartig, Bringing Conservation to Cities: Lessons from Building the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
*April 15 – Sandra Friend and John Keatley, The Florida Trail Guide

*starred lectures indicate a book-signing to follow

As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop proceeds.

To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit or contact Birgie Miller at 1-239-292-0566, 1-239-472-1100 ext. 4, or [email protected].

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