Lake County Parks & Trails Newsletter
 
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The Lake County Department of Public Resources, Parks & Trails Division, manages more than three dozen parks, preserves and boat ramps. The Division's park rangers lead regularly scheduled nature hikes and bird and butterfly surveys in a select few of these parks in addition to properties owned by the Lake County Water Authority and St. Johns River Water Management District.


Park of the Month
Lake Jem Park
Lake Jem Park offers visitors the opportunity to launch a boat, canoe or kayak into the Beauclair Canal, hike the 1/2-mile nature trail, fish from the banks of the canal or have a family picnic while the children enjoy the playground shaded by huge Live Oaks. Read More...
Upcoming Events
8 - 10 a.m. at PEAR Park Wildlife Conservation Area, Leesburg
The Florida Bluebird Society's annual Spring Bluebird Blitz is a fun way to monitor bluebirds across the state. Come join us as we count how many of these beautiful birds live at PEAR Park. Reservations are encouraged.
9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Lake Jem Park Boat Ramp, Tavares
Experienced and novice paddlers are invited to join Lake County park rangers and Lake County Water Authority staff on waterway adventure through the Apopka-Beauclair Canal. Bring your own kayak or use on of ours at no charge. Call to reserve your spot. Reservations are required. To make reservations for the paddling adventures, call the Lake County Water Authority at (352) 343-3777.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at PEAR Park Nature Center, Leesburg
The Nature center has a nice collection of rocks, minerals, fossils, sands, shells, and other natural specimens of interest to children and adults. Come learn about rock and mineral classification. Look at sand samples under the microscope. For the young, try hands on activities. See if you can identify animals from their skins or bones or identify types of rocks. Ask questions off or get help and instruction from former science teacher. There are over 4 miles of hiking trails through meadows, scrub jay habitats and woods along the Palatlakaha River to explore. Plants are identified along a nature trail and in demonstration gardens of native plants. Hike to a children’s play ground. Bring lunch spend the day and picnic at the nature center.
7 - 8 p.m. at Lake May Reserve, Eustis
Experienced bird-watching volunteers are invited to help conduct bird surveys at this restoration habitat. Birders must be able to identify most common birds by sight or sound and have their own binoculars and field guides. Volunteers participating in the butterfly survey should be able to identify most common species. This activity will include hiking approximately two miles on trails. Reservations are encouraged.
7:30 to 11 a.m. at Ferndale Preserve, Ferndale
Monthly census of the birds and butterflies on the preserve to assist in monitoring the effects of restoration and land management on the long term biodiversity of the site. Experience a plus but not required, must bring binoculars and field guide. Reservations are encouraged.
7 - 8 p.m. at PEAR Park, Leesburg
Experienced bird-watching volunteers are invited to help conduct bird surveys at restoration habitats in various county parks. Birders must be able to identify most common birds by sight or sound and have their own binoculars and field guides. Volunteers participating in the butterfly survey should be able to identify most common species. The activity will include hiking about two miles on trails. Reservations are encouraged.
8:30 - 10:30 a.m. at Marsh Memorial Park, Eustis
Celebrate Earth Day by helping plant flowers and clean up debris at this beautiful wooded park. Garbage bags, trash pickers and rubber gloves will be provided. Reservations are encouraged.
8:30 - 10:30 a.m. at Lake Thomas Cove Park, Groveland
Come celebrate Arbor Day by planting a tree that could serve as a future home to baby Florida Scrub-Jays. Reservations are encouraged.
8 a.m. - 2 p.m. at PEAR Park Wildlife Conservation Area, Leesburg
Join volunteers and staff for a day at PEAR Park. The event will begin with a flag dedication ceremony by the Hawthorne Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). After the ceremony, stop inside the Nature Center to enjoy the many exhibits. Finally, browse the annual Native Plant Sale, offering a chance to purchase native plants for all landscape and soil types. Proceeds benefit the PEAR association, a volunteer group that assists with conservation efforts at the park.
9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Hickory Point Recreational Park, Tavares
Interested in kayaking but not sure how to get started? The Lake County Water Authority and Lake County Parks and Trails invite you to a free introductory class. You will learn how to board a kayak, paddle and stay safe. All materials will be provided. Call to reserve your spot. Reservations are required. To make reservations for the paddling adventures, call the Lake County Water Authority at (352) 343-3777.
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Information about Guided Hikes & Surveys

Park rangers recomends participants of the nature hikes and bird & butterfly surveys to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Hikers should also bring binoculars, field guides, cameras, sunscreen, insect repellent, water and snacks.

Reservations are required for all guided hikes and bird & butterfly surveys. Most hikes are limited to the first 20 individuals to place reservations. To make reservations for the guided hikes and bird & butterfly surveys, call the Lake County Parks & Trails Division at (352) 253-4950 or e-mail parksandtrails@lakecountyfl.gov.


HIKING DIFFICULTY RATING
1 - These hikes offer an easy pace and an average-to-sedentary level of fitness. Hikes are usually on a paved trail or boardwalk. Distance is typically 1 mile or less.

2 - An average level of fitness is recommended as these moderate hikes may be on a trail of uneven terrain. Distance is typically 2 miles or less.

3 - These hikes are generally more challenging, depending on an individual’s experience and level of fitness. Hikes are more difficult due to hills and distances of greater than 2 miles.
Information about PADDLING ADVENTURES

The Lake County Water Authority coordinates all paddling adventures. For more information on these guided tours, contact the Lake County Water Authority at (352) 343-3777.

Reservations are required for all paddling adventures. Most paddling adventures are limited to the first 15 vessels to place reservations. To make reservations for the paddling adventures, call the Lake County Water Authority at (352) 343-3777.

PADDLING DIFFICULTY RATING
1 — These paddling adventures offer an easy pace and an average-to-sedentary level of fitness. Paddling may be on local creeks or shorelines. Time is usually two hours or less and distance is typically 1 mile or less, depending on currents.

2 — An average level of fitness is recommended as these moderate paddles may be on a blueway with obstructions or currents. Time is usually three hours or less and distance is typically 2-4 miles.

3 — These paddling adventures are generally more challenging, depending on an individual’s experience and level of fitness. Paddling is more difficult due to length of blueway and paddling conditions. Time is more than three hours and distance is typically more than 4 miles.
 

12929 County Landfill Road, Tavares, Florida 32778 • 352-253-4950 • www.lakecountyfl.gov

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