A 14 1/2 mile cycling trail is described in a new brochure by the Friends of the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys Refuges. The cycling or hiking route encompasses 5 refuge roads, 4 of which loop back to CR 349.
The trail is the brainchild of Charlie Adkins and Caroline Nobbs, Refuge volunteers during the winter of 2014, who are pictured in the brochure. Peg and Russ Hall hiked the trail as training for their Camino de Santiago trek and provided Debbie Meeks with habitat information for the brochure. Daniel Barrand, Refuge Forester, crafted the map.
The “CR 349 Refuge Cycling Tour” brochure is available at the Suwannee Tech Center, the Dixie Mainline kiosk, and Refuge Headquarters near Fowler’s Bluff. You can also download from the website. Click Here.
There is a new reason to explore the Salt Creek spur road off the Dixie Mainline, a 1/3 mile loop trail has recently been cut and sign posted. The loop offers three vistas across the salt marsh, a fresh water marsh pond and several stately grand-daddy live oak trees.
Furrows are apparent when you walk the trail. Daniel Barrand, Refuge Forester, says they are evidence of past timber planting. He also points out a higher windrow about half way around the trail that was made by raking and piling logging debris into a long row. He says the refuge once experimented by knocking down a windrow and found that many of the long-dormant native seeds sprouted. What was once an unwanted plant is welcome again. Daniel Barrand is pleased to see so much plant diversity as we walk the Salt Creek loop trail including native blueberry, persimmon, cedar and wire grass.
While you are parked, visit the Salt Creek fishing/observation platform. Bald eagles often nest on the island across the creek from the platform.
Despite the stormy forecast on November 19, the Suwannee Waterways Cleanup only had light sprinkles- great weather to gather garbage. Folks often overlook trash while pleasure boating but when 18 kayak, canoe and power boat volunteers searched... they found 429 pounds! It is tricky to find a spot to disembark near Suwannee due to slippery mud banks but the litter payoff is huge when you walk the high-water line. The most unusual find was a message in a bottle.
The Suwannee Community Center was filled with 34 guests who enjoyed a pot-luck meal featuring smoked chicken by Jerry Everett, owner of the Waterfront Market. After lunch, Tom McLaulin, from the Florida Paddling Trails Association, talked about Suwannee’s role as a Blueway Community. It is also a stop on the FPTA’s Circumnavigation Trail. The Friends of the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys Refuges ended the afternoon with their monthly board meeting.
Four non-profit groups joined together during this event in one effort: The Suwannee Chamber of Commerce, The Friends of the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys Refuges, Florida Paddling Trails Association and Paddle Florida.
For those interested in the Brazilian Pepper Control Program on the Refuge and in the Cedar Key area, on Dec. 8th at 9:00 a.m. we will meet at the CKLS Wildlife Refuge Headquarters off of CR347 for an informational presentation.
Following the presentation we will meet at 10:00 a.m. just North of #4 Bridge by the Andrews/Lukens Tract for the field demonstration and work for a couple hours.
All safety, tools, and applications equipment will be provided including boots, gloves, and goggles.
All interested parties are welcome to attend either or both activities. All help is greatly appreciated. For more information, contact Roger McDaniels at email@example.com
Cedar Keys Refuge
Wednesday March 13
Wednesday March 27
Come in your own boat, or buy a ride on one of the shuttles provided by captains at Cedar Key marina.
The Refuge is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Visitors are welcome to walk or bicycle around yellow Refuge gates.
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