Florida Trails

Florida Trails

 

*During the early 2000’s, Linda Adams, a former resident of TGO, wrote a series of articles for the TGO Nature Center titled “a Page From Nature”.  This article was a part of that series and was published in November 2000.   I have added some notes and updates at the end of the article.  Enjoy!

During the season the Nature Committee will be sponsoring hikes both inside and outside of TGO. Did you know that Central Florida has numerous hiking trails, canoe trails, and natural wildlife refuges? We have hiking/nature trails in TGO (maps are available at the Nature Center). Also, the Blue Heron Wetlands (on your right as you exit the resort) is home to numerous birds, waterfowl, alligators, and occasionally bob cats and wild hogs. You can walk or ride your golf cart around the wetlands.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is located east of Titusville. In 1963, NASA turned over 140,000 acres of this internationally famous barrier island to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be managed for waterfowl. The refuge is now home to tens of thousands of ducks, coots, shorebirds, and many other types of birds on the Eastern Migratory Flyway. Stop by the Visitor Center and pick up maps of the various trails in the refuge. There are four trails of varying length and difficulty. Also, drive the Black Point Wildlife Drive, a 7-mile drive with ample opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Use common sense in planning your hike. Don’t go if thunderstorms and/or lightning are predicted. Reliably good weather can be expected in March and April where there is less chance of thunderstorms, tropical storms, cold fronts, intense heat, or mosquitoes. November and December are also good months to hike since the rainy season has ended, but the vegetation is still lush.

Be on the lookout for poisonous plants such as poison ivy. Always identify a plant before touching it. If you do come in contact with poison ivy be sure to wash your skin with plenty of sudsy cold water as soon as possible. Encounters with poisonous snakes are rare but you should educate yourself on identifying the four poisonous snakes in Florida — eastern diamondback rattlesnake, pygmy rattlesnake, Florida cottonmouth (aka water moccasin) and eastern coral snake. Stay away from alligators. Deal with insects by applying repellents and always protect your skin from the Florida sun.

Any time you plan to go on a trail, it’s better to wear lightweight long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito, chigger, poison ivy, and sunburn problems. Clothing should be loose so that it doesn’t stick to you from the humidity.

If you walk alone, always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Also take a few safety-related items in your pack: map, compass, band-aids, pocketknife, insect repellent, Skin-So-Soft (for no-see-urns), two full water bottles, waterproof matches, waterproof windbreaker, bandanna or handkerchief, aspirin or ibuprofen.

2015 Updates:  There are actually six venomous snakes in Florida; however, the timber rattlesnake and the southern copperhead are found in north Florida.

We now try to have the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge hiking trails brochures in the Nature Center so check there first if you are interested in the MIWR trails.

Today, we rely heavily on our cell phones.  Always carry one with you when hiking.  If you have an emergency, even if your cell phone shows little to no cell phone service, still dial 911.  We have had two occasions while traveling where we were had little to no service and dialed 911 and we were connected to emergency personnel.

January and February are excellent times to view birds at the Blue Heron Wetlands and at Black Point Drive (maybe that is why they have the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in January!).  You can also drive your car around the Blue Heron wetlands.

 

TGO Nature Center – “Living in Harmony with Nature

Contact Us

To reserve the meeting room, contact:

Josiah Monk at Recreation Services for reservations on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Loretta Anne’ for all other times.