This area truly is a preservation of natural landscape as it is bordered by an active railroad and I-75 on its northeast side; Lost Lane, which is an unimproved road, and a drainage ditch on its east side; Del Prado Extension/Mellow Drive and a drainage ditch on its south side and the county line on the north boundary. On the west side there is an abandoned railroad grade that is owned by the Division of Utilities, with 320 acres of the 2,654 acre Preserve extending west beyond this railroad grade towards US 41.
The Preserve consists of a diverse mosaic of several native plant communities, including wet and mesic flatwoods, depression marshes, wet prairies, and prairie hammocks, marshes and a small area of abandoned pasture. Unfortunately, due to the lack of fire and alteration of sheet flow patterns, many of these communities were infested with dense stands of melaleuca and other listed invasive exotic plants. Pines had also invaded hammock areas and formed dense stands due to lack of natural fires. In 2009-2011, pine tree thinning was conducted on the site, along with the beginning of melaleuca removal. Over 90% of the melaleuca was removed from the site for free and contractors were hired to treat regrowth in some areas following the intitial removal. Without the free work, it would have taken years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat the melaleuca in place.
Exotic plant eradication work will continue across the preserve along with use of rollerchopping and mowing to reduce fuel loads and improve habitat. Prescribed burning will also be used to mimic natural events for the plant communities.
This preserve is one of a handful of 20/20 preserves planned with parking areas and restroom facilities. The amenities, trail markers and signage, and the exotics treatment on parcel 194 were paid for with a grant awarded by the Florida Communities Trust program. This preserve is open to the public and has plenty to offer to visitors. There are equestrian and hiking trails, geocaching sites, a short primitive bike trail and you can even bring your leashed pets onto a portion of the preserve!
Bike Trails, Bird Watching, Geocaching, Hiking (Boardwalk), Hiking (Marked Trails), Horseback Riding, Nature Study/Photography, On-leash Pet Walking, Picnic Area
3-mile primitive at-grade Bike Trail
Prairie Pines Trail Map