Lovely day for a walk in the Refuge
Following the Friends Board meeting I walked the River Trail again. It is a beautiful walk - .96 mile from the parking all the way around. Even though I didn't see much in the way of wildlife, it is a gift to feel a part of it all while in the beauty and quiet of the Refuge. John Thalacker and his crew have done a wonderful job designing and maintaining this trail and it is very accessible for most people.
Barbara Woodmansee will lead her 4th annual butterfly count in the Lower Suwannee NWR on Saturday, April 4 (weather permitting). Barbara has spent many hours in the refuge observing butterflies and is developing a butterfly map to show where specific butterflies have been seen in the Refuge. She has also compiled an ongoing list of butterflies (last count 85 species!) that have been spotted along the Nature Drive over the past 5 or 6 years. I am not exaggerating when I say she is an expert on butterflies in the Refuge! If you are interested in attending the day long count, meet her at the Southern entrance of the Nature Drive at 9:30 am for a full day of exciting spring butterfly fun in the refuge.
Directions from Gainesville: Take SR 24, or Archer Road, to CR 347 (just before you reach Cedar Key) - it's exactly 50 miles west from the Target store in G'ville.
Turn right on CR 347, and go 10 miles until you see the large brown sign at the south entrance to the LSNWR Nature Drive.
Directions from Chiefland: Stay on Hwy 19/98 south until you reach the tiny town of Otter Creek. Turn right on SR 24, and follow it for 18 miles until you reach CR 347. Turn right on CR 347, and go 10 miles until you see the large brown sign at the south entrance to the LSNWR Nature Drive.
Directions from Cedar Key: After leaving the island, turn left onto CR 347 toward the refuge. Travel about 10 miles until you see the sign for the Nature Drive on the right. Entrance to the drive is on the left, just after a sharp corner.
Meet Barbara at the south entrance at 9:30. From there, they will work their way driving and brief walking through the Nature Drive, spending a lot of time on two of the side roads (Cabin Road & Barnett Creek Road) to look for butterflies along the roadside. This is not a difficult walking trip unless you choose to go hiking on your own
Sandfleas (no-see-ems) can be bad JUST at the entrance, but they mostly go away as we progress further into the refuge. Ticks and chiggers are also likely, so DEET or other bug spray of your choice is a good idea, with long pants tucked into socks if you walk off-road.
There are no bathrooms or drinking water in the refuge, so bring plenty to drink with a lunch/snacks, sunscreen, a hat and binoculars and/or cameras if you choose. If you have a butterfly ID book, bring it too. Barbara will bring her refuge butterfly checklists for anyone who wants to keep track of what butterflies are seen. This is an all day walk/ride but feel free to leave whenever you wish.