BELLE GLADE — Airboater Michael “GatorMike” Goyette and his dad — with a wide group of supporters Mike has drummed up on social media — are organizing a volunteer campaign to reconstruct the Lake Okeechobee Tree House and put it in a safe condition for public visits.
Situated on state land inside the Herbert Hoover Dike, on Kreamer Island north of the Belle Glade Marina on Torry Island, the Tree House is an old gathering spot built by Lake O sportsmen long ago. It’s fallen into serious disrepair over the past five to seven years, inaccessible at times because of high water levels, with parts of the deck recently rotting and beginning to sag.
So Mr. Goyette decided to start a GoFundMe campaign via his own Facebook page to raise money for materials to rebuild the wooden deck surrounding the house. He and his father, Captain Steve “MasterGator” Goyette, have been going there for years for recreation and later to take visitors to the unique, scenic treehouse. They began to worry about their safety and that of everyone else who visits in the past several years. GatorMike says it’s served as rain shelter in many a sudden storm on the lake. They rebuilt the stairs on July 28.
They have raised about one-third of their goal of a little over $2,500, the amount needed to pay for materials to replace the entire deck around the treehouse.
The Goyettes are raising a big group effort to do the rebuilding on Sunday, Aug. 11. Search for “Lake Okeechobee Tree House Restoration Project” on Facebook.com or Gofundme.com to learn more.