- Nature writer Charles Sobczak's favorites
H-T columnist Eric Ernst interviewed nature author Charles Sobczak about his five can’t-miss park and preserve destinations in Sarasota and Charlotte counties. Click through this slide show to see which spots he picked.
- Oscar Scherer State Park
Oscar Scherer State Park, 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, (941) 483-5956. Campers flock to this park, whose 1,400 acres provide a welcome respite in what is a fairly well-developed area. One of the big attractions is the concentration of endangered Florida scrub jays, as well as other creatures and trails for hikers and bikers.
- Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park, 13208 State Road 72, Sarasota, (941) 361-6511. What’s not to like about 37,000 acres where visitors can experience boat tours, camping, hiking, horse-riding, canoeing and biking? The wildlife, plant and animal, runs the gamut of native fare in a number of habitats. The park’s highlight may be a canopy walkway, culminating in a 74-foot observation tower.
- Cedar Point Environmental Park
Cedar Point Environmental Park, 2300 Placida Road, Englewood, (941) 475-0769. “From mangroves to pine flatwoods to a well-stocked learning center, Cedar Point is an excellent example of just how much can be done with a relatively small piece of real estate,” Sobczak wrote. The park features an active eagles’ nest estimated at one ton.
- Venice Area Audubon Society Rookery
Venice Area Audubon Society Rookery, 4002 S. Tamiami Trail at Annex Road, Venice, (941) 496-8984. This is not a classic park. It’s essentially a viewing area for nesting birds, a lot of birds. And the island where they nest is close enough that even point-and-shoot pictures can come out looking like professional photos. The prime nesting season is January through March.
A small bird finds water to its liking at Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management AreaBabcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area
Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area, Tucker’s Grade, an east turn off I-75 Exit 158, (863) 648-3200. Its 80,335 acres are home to two rare bird species, the Bachmann sparrow and the red cockaded woodpecker. The cavity trees occupied by the latter are marked with paint for easy spotting. The park is also popular for hunting and fishing.
Five local nature spots to see
/ Thursday, February 7, 2013