Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park: Can You Cache This?
This trip is sponsored and will be led by land managers and staff from the Department of Environmental Protection.
The Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park is one where rangers deal with fire ecosystems, invasive species, and with a new hobby that has taken root in public recreational lands.
Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park protects about 4,500 acres of contiguous coastal uplands in northeastern Duval County. The park has scrub uplands and hardwood forest alongside the Pumpkin Hill Creek. The park is part of a mosaic of preserved lands that includes Jacksonville's Tiger Point Preserve and the federal government Timucuan Preserve. The preserve is a bird and wildlife refuge, and wildlife ranges from the threatened American alligator to the endangered wood stork.
There are five miles of multi-use trails for hikers, equestrians and off-road bike riders. Most of these trails wind through upland scrub communities of pine and palmetto. Kayakers paddle down Pumpkin Hill Creek to the Nassau River or other destinations.
Field trip itinerary:
Brief presentation at park office about the parks upland and surrounding estuarine ecologies, and about the activities of the Geocachers. It will include why they find the park attractive, what they do, what the ethics of geocaching are, how the rangers interact with the geocaching community, and how rangers decide what limits of public behavior are.
Then, participants will split up to either 1) kayak the Pumpkin Hill Creek for a closeup look at the estuarine environment or 2) get a hands-on demonstration of geocaching in a hike along the trail on Pumpkin Creek, concentrating on the ecology and the park management of the uplands and pine scrub terrain.
People on the field trip should bring comfortable shows for walking in sand or in the woods. If you plan to kayak the Pumpkin Hill Creek, you may also wish to bring extra clothes to keep on the bus in case you get wet. Some handheld GPS units will be provided, but participants can also bring their own units for use.
NOTE: Kayaks are limited to the first 22 registrants who register.
Lower St. Johns River Boat Adventure
Supported by Henry Dean & Associates, LLC. and John H. Hankinson, Jr., this trip begins with a boat tour of the lower St. Johns River disembarking at a water taxi site adjacent to Hyatt; along the water route, organizers will discuss acquisitions, enhancement, and restoration projects of the Lower St. Johns River.
Machaba Balu/Timucuan Preserve Boat Trip
Guided by The Nature Conservancy, passengers will travel by bus to Sisters Creek marina and board a boat to the National Park Service's Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. Pass through the Nature Conservancy's newest Preserve Machaba Balu. Passengers will be surrounded by a myriad of public and private conservation lands and will hear why this special place within the limits of the City of Jacksonville is important ecologically, historically and culturally. Participants will hear about a variety of partnerships between National Park Service, the City of Jacksonville, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Water Management District and The Nature Conservancy. The boat ride will end at Kingsley Plantation and National Park Service staff will describe the historic site. The bus will then continue to the Ribault Club and Department of Environmental Protection staff will describe the history of this building and the partnership that led to its restoration.
Camp Milton Historic Preserve and Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail Bicycling Adventure
Join us for a sneak peak at how the City of Jacksonville and its partners saved a historical site and developed it into an ecotourism & educational facility. Demonstrations from the era will be on site.
The trip will begin at Camp Milton Historic Preserve, one of the last remaining Civil War encampments in Florida, occupied by both the Union and Confederate soldiers. Camp Milton was considered to be a strategically located camp as it was located between two rail lines which served to transport food and supplies to the troops to the north. The camp is also located on McGirts Creek which provided a marsh buffer from the opposing troops. The City of Jacksonville with the help of the State of Florida through Florida Communities Trust saved this 125 acre site from becoming a septic sludge dump. The City recently opened the site to the public as a historical education facility, offering an education center, trails and boardwalks, and a campaign bridge. The Preserve is contiguous to the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rails to Trails and serves as a mid-point stop to bikers, hikers, and equestrians. Sponsored by DEP's Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT), participants will enjoy a beautiful six mile bike ride on the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail, a partnership trail between OGT and the City of Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville-Baldwin trail offers a sense of seclusion you might not expect from a trail that starts about 5 miles from downtown Jacksonville. Built along a former railroad corridor, this trail traverses a diversity of natural habitats including pine flatwoods, wetlands, and hardwood uplands. These areas attract a variety of wildlife such as songbirds, hawks, wild turkey, and white-tailed deer. The dense canopy that covers most of the trail provides shade on a sunny day and, in certain locations, even gives the illusion of traveling in a tunnel. The trail also crosses McGirts Creek near Camp Milton, a site rich in Civil War history. Despite its secluded feel, the trail is readily accessible from Jacksonville via Interstate 10 and Interstate 295.
Helmets are required, feel free to bring your own.
Julington-Durbin Preserve Driving/Walking Tour
Orientation at Julington-Durbin Preserve, then driving to multiple locations. Group will walk at different stops and discuss upland restoration projects/techniques and management issues.
Julington-Durbin Preserve is a 2,031-acre natural area owned by the State of Florida and the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD). Managed by SJRWMD and the City Of Jacksonville, it is located on a peninsula at the confluence of two creeks that flow into the lower St. Johns River. The peninsula is a long sandy ridge with sandhills along the crest grading into flatwoods along its flanks, then an extensive floodplain swamp that is associated with the two creeks. This trip will leave the hotel in SJRWMD vehicles. Once on-site, we will take a driving and walking tour of the Preserve's natural communities and view some of the upland restoration projects that are ongoing. Discussion points will center on managing the natural resources, cultural resources, and resource-based recreation on a valuable natural area in an ever-urbanizing environment. This trip will be lead by land managers from SJRWMD and is limited to 25 participants.