Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pasco Unveils Upper Cotee River Preserve

Have you ever wrapped your arms around a 200-year-old piece of history? Pretty soon, visitors to the Upper Cotee River Preserve in central Pasco County will be able to do just that. The preserve is home to an enormous cypress tree estimated to be between 200 and 300 years old and listed in The Historic Places of Pasco County.

Experts believe the cypress may have been spared by loggers who cut down hundreds of similar trees in the early 1900s because the side of the tree was damaged by a lightning strike. Soon, the ancient cypress - and the rest of the 122-acre preserve - will be accessible to visitors through a network of hiking trails and boardwalks.

Pasco County purchased the property, located north of State Road 52 and east of Shady Hills Road, through its Environmental Lands Aquisition & Management Program or ELAMP. That means the property will be protected against development and preserved for future generations to enjoy and explore. The county recently received a 50 percent reimbursement of the acquisition costs from a Florida Communities Trust grant. Funds from the grant also will be used to complete the renovations and site improvements.
Volunteers and county staff have spent months clearing trails and renovating a house on the property to use as a nature center. Eventually, officials hope to link trails in the preserve to the nearby Suncoast Trial.

With dozens of species of birds and wildlife, including deer, wild turkey, gopher tortoises, barred owl and red-shouldered hawk, the Upper Cotee River Preserve is another great addition to the natural areas that make Pasco County such an attractive destination for bird-watchers and other nature-lovers. While the preserve is not yet open to the public, plenty of other parks and wilderness areas are. Visit Pasco Tourism to find places to hike, bike, canoe and camp.

Check out this report from Bay News 9 on the project and stay tuned to Adventures of a Pasco Tourist to find out when the preserve will be open to the public.

Have a comment on the Upper Cotee Preserve or a suggestion for Adventures of a Pasco Tourist? Click the comment link below and share your thoughts!


Anonymous said...

What a great resource!

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I love walking in the woods and see all those big trees, nature and wild animals. I will go visit Upper Cotee River Preserve, thank you!

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