Brooker Creek Preserve

Feather Based on a tip from Tampa I Am, I decided to take a little stroll out at Brooker Creek Preserve this past Saturday. It sounded nice enough, and with its close proximity to downtown Tampa there was hardly any cause to consider it a huge commitment (even if it meant sacrificing precious weekend hours). Just throw the word, “preserve” into the same sentence with outdoors and hiking, and I am apt to be sold. Plus, how can one not be grateful for a morsel of land in the Tampa Bay area devoid of condos and mini porches with a compromised view?

Upon pulling into the parking lot, it seemed to be a nice enough place. I could hear some trigger-happy people popping off shots from their pistols somewhere in the distance, but aside from that there was relative calm. The boardwalk, albeit short, is quite nice, and the education center and corresponding facilities are obviously well-funded. The displays along parts of the trail are creatively composed and informative, but then they, well, just end.

Beyond that is the 4-mile wilderness trail, which I did in full, and while it held my observance I doubt I would ever do it again. Don’t get me wrong, there is subtle beauty in the pines and palms, but the trail was a road, and the pines had obviously been harvested not that long ago.

As further encroachment ensues land management becomes even more important and challenging. That is why I really am appreciative for places like this and would fork over additional tax dollars to protect more of the same. The diversity of wildlife, and the knowledge that one day those pines will be old growth is heartwarming. But it felt a little like being thankful for dissatisfaction. I wanted more!

I did have the chance to spy a pygmy rattler; although, I was not quick enough to capture a picture. I also picked up this turkey feather (see picture), and spotted a small buck cruising through the trees. In each case, I am glad they have room to roam.

Cypress Knees Julia Forest

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