Longleaf Pine PreserveFree

3736 East New York AvenueDeLandFlorida, USA

Longleaf Pine Preserve includes several natural communities, including mesic and wet flatwoods, cypress strands, cypress domes and scrub. The preserve, which covers 12,005 acres, has two long marked trails: The red trail is a 7 mile loop that begins and ends at the west entrance of the preserve. Along this trail, visitors may see mesic flatwoods, which are characterized by longleaf pine and slash pine and an understory dominated by saw palmetto and wiregrass. Cypress domes may be recognized along the red trail and throughout the site by the dome-like appearance of their pond cypress tree line. Cypress strands - elongated areas of cypress tree communities - also can be seen in the distance. The blue trail begins at the east entrance and crosses 6 miles of the preserve. It no longer connects to the red trail, so hikers and equestrians must turn around at the terminus. Signs are posted. The east end of the blue trail traverses through wet flatwoods with an overstory of slash pine and an understory of saw palmetto, gallberry and seasonal wildflowers. The central portion of the blue trail winds through cypress strand swamp. The blue and red marked trails are open to hiking, biking and horseback riding. Portions of the trail are subject to flooding - some areas possibly more than two feet. Although use of the trail when flooded may not be for everyone, traversing this natural site under wet conditions provides an opportunity to observe and experience the character of Florida's vital wet habitats. Wildlife along the trails may include sandhill crane, great blue heron, river otter, bobcat, coyote, fox, deer, black bear and alligator. The trails are long with little shade. Visitors should bring water to drink.

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