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Sara Maude Mason Nature Preserve

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info


Aug 2018
 Typical view [?]
Photo Galleries
Typical View (3)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
How Big Not Rated
Importance Not Rated
Revisit? F
Birding Not Rated
Wildlife Not Rated
Summer Heat Not Rated
Terrain Not Rated
Fun Hike Not Rated
Maintained D *
Mosquitos D *
Biting Files Not Rated
Ticks Not Rated
NOTE: No way in, no signs
NOTE: Many many bites at gate
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 23881 N Buckhill Rd, Howey-In-The-Hills, FL, Lake, USA, 34737

1) What It's Like

Don't know - beware you may not be able to get in. See Dear Ranger section.

2) Directions

See Dear ranger section. Also the roads getting to this - the police closed off one way and the other were precarious clay mud roads. With rain it was kind of dangerous without a truck.

3) Dear Ranger

If I was evil and wanted to punish people who wanted to use the nature trail I'd do it exactly like they did this park. It is the single worst experience from the standpoint of not being able to get in and being very confused as to whether we have the right place, is it really closed, is there any place to get more info etc.

The only directions online say it's on this sketchy dirt road that is really too dangerous to drive on with a normal car when it's raining - it's odd red clay that floods. You get there and there's a little sign and a combination locked gate. There's just enough space so you wonder if you're supposed to park outside the gate. Inside the gate is a playground so you wonder is this park THE park or a kids park. But on top of it all it's late afternoon on a weekend so why would they lock it?

We drove a long ways to get here so we really didn't want to turn around. There's a dirt road/path on the side of the fenced area. Is that the entrance? I think now it must have been private property and from the flooding it was just dangerous to walk on. But - if you walk up a bit you see a clearly marked nature trail is in there in the fenced in area but 90 degrees from the gate so it's perfectly hidden. Again - evil.

So now we're thinking - well what is going on? No hours of operation listed. No phone number - can't call and get a combination. No official website. But it can't be closed this early. Are these rural people tougher - are we expected to hop the gate? Hmmm no that gate is too rickety. So finally we give up.

We drive around the property a bit and then there is what looks like an elementry school on the left and okay - a very clearly marked nature trail entrance. Trouble is it's a nice entrance that takes up all the space. There is no place to park and no place to park on the side of the road without killing grass that they probably don't want killed. The only thing I can think of is that the official expectation is that you park at the school but even though I don't drive a van that says "free candy" that's not something I'm doing without a clear sign.

So - message receieved Sara Maude Mason - we f*cked off. What did we do to you?

I suspect the problem isn't evil it's inability of whoever was in charge to put themselves in the position of a new visitor. Lots of parks have that problem but not like this. It's easy to understand the trail after you've done it but beforehand you can easily not see how to get in.

Grade F.

All it would take to fix it is to print a very simple sign with an office printer, tape, and a plastic bag. Guess nobody can be bothered.


See "Dear ranger". Looks like there are trees.

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