Polk Environmental Lands and Trek Ten Trails

Polk Environmental Lands and Trek Ten Trails
In 1994, the citizens of Polk County, concerned about loss of native habitat, voted in a referendum to levy a tax of 20 cents per $1000 of taxable property that would be used to purchase eligible natural areas. Thus was born the Environmental Lands Program. Its purpose “is to acquire, preserve, protect, manage, and restore endangered and environmentally sensitive lands, water resources and important wildlife habitat.”

Since that time, 11 of these nature preserves, comprising over 25,000 acres, have been acquired and opened to the public for nature-based recreation activities. These include nature study, hiking, geocaching, picnicking, non-motorized bicycling, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, and primitive camping.

Here is a list of these 11 units, each of which has its own web page:

  1. Circle B Bar Reserve
  2. Crooked Lake Prairie
  3. Crooked Lake Sandhill
  4. Gator Creek Reserve
  5. Hickory Lake Scrub
  6. Lakeland Highlands Scrub
  7. Marshall Hampton Reserve
  8. North Walk-In-Water Creek
  9. Peace River Hammock
  10. Sherwood L. Stokes Preserve
  11. SUMICA

Trek Ten Trails

Trek Ten Trails (TTT) is a recreational program sponsored by Friends of the Parks that was begun in 2007. Its purpose is to get Polk County residents and visitors outdoors to explore and enjoy Polk’s parks and natural areas.

Get started in the program by picking up a TTT game card from a county library, the Circle B Bar Reserve visitor center, or other county office. They can also be downloaded and printed from the TTT web site. Next, visit one of the parks or nature preserves that are part of the program. To validate your visit, stamp your card with one of the self-inking stamps to be found in a geocache/letterbox container placed along a trail. You can do these treks on your own or participate in the scheduled guided hikes sponsored by Friends of the Parks. Once you have collected 10 stamps on your game card, mail it in by November 1 to be eligible for a certificate of completion and other prizes and giveaways at the annual TTT celebration held in November of each year at Circle B Bar Reserve.

Hosted hikes for the 2018-2019 trekking year are:

  • December 15, 2018 - Lake Marion Creek WMA
  • January 5, 2019 - Colt Creek State Park
  • February 16, 2019 - Catfish Creek Preserve
  • March 16, 2019 - SUMICA
  • April 27, 2019 - Mosaic Peace River Park

All of these hikes begin at 9a.m.

To find out more about the TTT program or Friends of the Parks, visit their official website or the Friends of the Polk County Parks Foundation, Inc. Facebook page.

You Should Also Read:
Circle B Bar Reserve
Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve
Visiting Bok Tower Gardens

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