Typical view [?]
NOTE: Forest shaded, mangroves not.
NOTE: Hills are bit rough but avoidable.
NOTE: Some love, some hate.
LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
A peninsula with small forest trails though it is half invasive species, a bit of beach on sheltered gulf/river mouth.
On shore - gulls, pelicans, anhinga/cormorant, maybe shorebirds but not much room for them on mini beaches. Forest can have warblers etc in descent amounts. There's a duck pond that usually has a duck and/or wading bird or two. So not bad.
Doubtful you'll see any but raccoons likely live out here. Stingrays if you wade - so do the shuffle. I wouldn't swim far out - sharks like river mouths.
There are toilets half way out on the left and there are chem toilets at the beach part. There's an education center type place I've never seen open.
You drive through/near suburban neighborhood and into what seems nothing for a bit before arriving. The bridge onto Snead Island is kind of scenic. I'd be careful around dusk - they have probably the meanest signs regarding what they will do to you if you are still there at closing time. Classic Manatee County - they love their authority.
Why so mean Manatee County?
1) Why do you have signs have to be threatening regarding closing time? Been to a lot of parks and only seen this one other time.
2) Your signs - please just randomly walk around and USING THE MAP tell where you are. There's a lot of "you are here" phrases and I'm guessing that you had stickers or something where at one time it told you where you were - but that is gone. Been here half a dozen times and I've never known where I am and pretty sure missing most of this place
3) What's with using the parking cement bumpers to mark a biking trail? It would be so easy to accidentally jump this and get stuck - I would imagine it's worse having these because if you slip it's going to launch you into the biking area.
4) I think everyone appreciates it when a management agency takes time to slowly replace one invasive species with a native one - but I don't get the impression that's what you are doing here. Why is half the forest invasive - the Hibiscus you have is common here but from Asia. That wouldn't hurt anyone to remove and replace. The trees would be disruptive - there's a native strangler fig tree but I've never seen it hiking elsewhere. Is that what this is all over here or is it just junk from when they were trying to make this place into condos.
It's a 10 minute drive from the highway out here.
We usually spend 30-40 minutes stopping off on the way to something else when stopping here.
Despite it not being large I've gotten lost here quite a few times - not as in we can't find the road but rather we're determined to find some trail and go on wrong ones etc because the maps have all the "you are here" markers removed and they are so twisted up and undecipherable it's just kind of impossible.
If you did every trail I doubt you'd spend more than 2 hours though.
In the 80s this is the place that all the high school kids would drive out to to drink. Narrow road out so when the cops showed up people had plenty of time to chuck their beer and anonymously drive out. And at the time building condos was stalled here.
Flash forward to the 90s and they turn it into a park.
Parts are nice, parts are irritating Manatee County (I have a bias here). If you drive to the end there's a little beach area that is typical of sheltered areas. Mangroves, not much for waves. Nice view of the entrance to the Manatee river (which is slow, wide, and boring), the Skyway bridge, and if you can tell what you're looking at Ft.Desoto, Egmont Key, etc. Offshore here a ways is what was Passage key but now is just a sandbar that's in the middle of nothing. So - assuming this is still true - on weekends you could show up in your boat and go from 90ft deep water to a bunch of topless girls standing in the water. Good times (I guess - 2nd hand accounts - never went).
Personally I've seen enough mangroves to last me 10 lifetimes - they're fine... just not much going on in them above water. There's a hill for the view. It's probably a great view - I've just seen it too many times to care personally.
Come inland and on the south side there are a few trails that I think mostly go into mangroves. I haven't spent much time in there because like I said - I've had enough mangroves.
On the north side of the island by the mound there are a couple nice spots/trails though there are a lot of invasive species. There's a big boardwalk overlooking a canopy of tall live oaks and then ocean/river. Under that are a ton of hibiscus for some reason - I think they are from asia. The forests have a bit of a tropical feel. Pretty dark with cabbage palms, oaks, and I think strangler figs. There is a species native to Florida but I'm doubtful this is them. Still invasive or not it's pretty pleasant.
There are mounds here. The native Americans that lived here are long totally dead - other than a tiny percentage that merged with the Seminoles when they were pushed down from up north. But they loved oysters and had huge trash heaps and/or ceremonial hills from them. Would have been nice if they survived. Anyhow - there is a mound or two here but I'm not clear as to where. Maybe we walked on it but there was no sign. The mound on Terra Ceia - Bickel Mound - is nice - nobody goes there, you can climb stairs up - pretty great and not far away really.
Be careful when driving here - they used a bunch of cement parking bumpers to mark bike lanes and it seems like it could destroy your car if you barely bumped it - and maybe throw you over and into people. But - I'm not a civil engineer - maybe it realigns your steering and safely plops you down like a jersey barricade.
Also there's a duck pond that usually has at least a couple ducks or wading birds.
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