Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Webpage: National Park
General Description: The Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve protects 46,000 acres of critical wetlands along the northeast Florida coast and includes the historical sites of Fort Caroline and Kingsley Plantation. The Preserve is a joint effort by the city of Jacksonville, Florida State Parks, private lands, and the National Park System. There is extensive archeological evidence of native Americans including some of the oldest pottery discovered in the US (2500 BCE) and evidence of a Spanish mission, San Juan del Puerto. The wetlands include extensive acres in salt marshes, coastal dunes, and hardwood hummocks. Most of the Preserve is accessible only by boat, but there are 7 miles of trails at Fort Caroline.
1) We did not know what to expect at the Timucuan Preserve and since we do not have a boat, we could not explore very much of it. The Visitor Center is shared with Fort Caroline and did not include much information about the Preserve, nor is there a movie about it.
2) The hiking trail across the road from Fort Caroline is a beautifully maintained trail with boardwalks in the marshy area until the trail climbs up some impressive dunes to a nice overlook over the surrounding terrain.
3) The trail continues along the edge of a salt marsh where you walk through an amazing collection of oyster middens. I don’t know how deep the middens extend but the number of oyster shells along the path is amazing. Everywhere you look you can see thousands of oyster shells sticking out of the ground, especially when erosion had opened up a side view of a mound.