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Starkey Wilderness Park (Crappy Picnic Park Part)

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info

ROUGH DRAFT

Feb 2019
 Typical view [?]
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Typical View (9)

Snapshots! (2)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
Revisit? F
Birding D *
Wildlife B *
Summer Heat C *
Terrain B
Fun Hike D *
Maintained C *
Mosquitos C
Biting Files B *
Ticks C *
NOTE: D-
NOTE: I think they flee from all the human traffic
NOTE: Short trees - not much shade
NOTE: Trail broken up by endless playgrounds
NOTE: Maintained but the signs were never really put in
NOTE: Guessing - seems like they would have to be here
NOTE: Seems unlikely somehow but deer have to be in here.
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: Wilderness Park Blvd, New Port Richey, FL, Pasco, USA, 34655
OFFICIAL INFO:

1) What It's Like

It's a huge wilderness area but the only face they show of it is this relatively tiny park with horrible maps and signs for people to jog and soccer mom's to bring their kids to swing on the swing sets. There's a nature trail but it's short and surrounded by play grounds and just useless. BUT - although I can't find them mention it - there *IS* a huge long trail going through it I only found out about by finding a direct link to a map on the net.

So this is basically about the crappy jogger's park we visited.

 

2) Kinds of Birds

We heard a couple birds. That's about it.

3) Wildlife

It's definitely big enough to have deer etc - we saw a gopher tortoise. There's so many people running around in the one area that I'm sure animals shy away to other parts of the forest though.

4) Amenities

Everything you'd expect a county park to have except reasonable maps and signs.

5) Directions

First - This is assuming we went to the best place in this forest. It was the best we could find - as in a trail that was marked - but - it sucked and I would be amazed if there wasn't something better. So if you want to go where we did (or make sure to avoid it) ... This is hard to describe. When you enter from Starkey Blvd you meander along a road for awhile with seemingly useless side roads. You reach a point where there's a sign pointing to the right saying "pay station" (if I remember right). There's a little building there and what look like trail head signs. You pass that and you'll see a bigger building on the left - a nature/education center I think. If you were to go left I think you'd exit the park onto De Cubellis Rd. If you go right you'll hit a stop sign and a gate blocking you from going straight. Now you're safe from taking wrong turns - it goes forward 1/3 as far as you've driven so far and on the left will be a parking area you can pull off the road into - don't park there. Once you pass this you hit the main loop of the whole park - well there aren't really any signs to speak of that I can recall. Those parking lots are numbered... but they don't tell you. There's a tiny wooden brown sign saying "nature trail parking" - that's the red dot on the map below (C open street maps). The pink line is what I described above.
I suggest walking across the street from the parking lot because inside you just run into kids screaming at a new playground shelter every 30 seconds - kind of ridiculous concept for a nature trail.

Adhoc Map

6) Dear Ranger

1) Why do you hide the fact that you have an enormous system of hiking trails?

2) Did we miss signs that said "parking lot #4" etc? Because I had to use maps arrows and a lot of text to describe how to get to the nature trail.

3) Why do you wind the nature trail through playgrounds so you can't get to a point where you can't see a kid screaming as they go down a slide?

4) Why don't you mention at the "nature trail" that there is more trail across the street from the nature trail parking area?

5) Have you looked at the map of turns you have to take to get from highway to the main loop of the park? Also why put the map to it so far away from it that by the time you find it you forgot what the wooden carved map said?

6) Who hurt you?

 

7) Time Requirements

The nature trail is short  - 20 minutes? I wouldn't bother with it though.

Experience

Again - this is about the crappy picnic/jogger park - not the big trail system they seem to want to hide from the public.

For years I've seen Starkey Wilderness on maps - seen that it's huge - and wondered what it is, why haven't I been, why does nobody mention it? Trying to find information on it - ug - is miserable. First - if you just go what you are led to is a park for joggers and playground slide. There's a biking trail, there's a horrid nature trail, there's 100 little playgrounds breaking everything up, and that covers just a tiny piece of the wilderness on the map. Most other parks that have dual use like this (hiking and nature to jog/picnic in or whatever) you'd go to a park like this and a big hiking loop would go out from it. This place it's like they want to hide the fact that there's more so they don't have to deal with tending it. Anyhow - you go to the website and buried in the "camping information" section they give a bunch of details on prices (wait - they charge 10-15$ to primitive camp!??)... well they don't mention that there are miles of hiking trails at all. You have to find a link among 15 others that says "forms and maps" then on the next page find the one that says "map of trails" and dear god - the trail system is enormous! I actually didn't find it that way - I ran into the raw pdf map with random web searches then backtracked before saying here "they don't even mention it on their website!"

Also the website says there is a bird trail at the jogger's park but rather than say ANYTHING about where it is they just pass you off to the "West Pasco Audubon"... just look it up there... but judging by the Audubon website this is a small organization and nobody told them they were responsible to keep a map or pointer to that up.  So screw you if you want to see the bird trail is the takeaway I guess. It reminds me of the parks that just completely opt out of providing a hiking trail map at the trail head in lieu of letting biking groups have their map... that doesn't care about hikers or their trails.

Anyhow - when you get to the nature trail it directs you (very quietly with a tiny sign) to a parking area and there's a sign (two entrances actually) that says to walk in here. You do and it has so many turn offs - it's a maze. Which seems reckless because you can't get to the point where you're not watching a kid screaming as he goes down a slide - you leave one and you run into another. I thought I was in a horror movie with infinite loops - you can never escape this play area!... You'd think it's a great way to get kids lost... well to get kids at the wrong slide area.

Regardless of that all sucking - it's mostly a bunch of very short oak trees here. I don't know if it's just not a lot of years since it was a pasture or if there was a fire but it's not a robust diversified wilderness. I think maybe we heard one bird cough quietly and apologize.

When driving out we did see there was more nature trail across the street - how on earth you're supposed to know what I have zero idea - but if you come here I'd try that. We didn't care enough by this point to look further - it didn't look like it was going to be anything great.

Another thing you might try is walking the biking trails - you can see them on the map in "Directions" section.


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