This article was written by Megan Mangiaracino, Director of Development and Marketing at the North Florida Land Trust.
Our first public park, Bogey Creek Preserve, opened to the community in April of 2019. A 75-acre gem in the Pumpkin Hill neighborhood of north Jacksonville, it is a beautiful example of “Old Florida” with its 70 acres of cypress swamp, maritime hammock forest, and salt marsh overlooking the Timucuan Preserve. Trails on the Preserve take you through the various ecosystems and the experience is a step back in time, into the wild.
Our opening year brought hundreds of visitors, guided tours, special interest events, and group nature walks.
Navigating the Pandemic
In April, the Preserve closed for a short time as we navigated the uncertainty of the coronavirus. Along with Florida State Parks, we reopened to the public in June, providing a safe and socially distanced option for recreation.
Now, more than ever, it is critical for our physical and mental well-being to have more natural areas for exercise and relaxation. As a public preserve, Bogey Creek provides year-round opportunities for hiking, biking, picnicking, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, geocaching, and wildlife observation.
Expanding the Preserve
We now have the opportunity to acquire an additional 12 acres of adjacent forests and streams to expand the Bogey Creek Preserve trail system and protect this neighboring property from development. We only have until October to save this land.
Bogey Creek Preserve fills a gap within a 6,000-acre matrix of conservation lands including Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park, Cedar Point Preserve and Betz Tiger Point Preserve. This expansion provides an opportunity to connect Bogey Creek Preserve trails to the 4,000-acre Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park, as well as lands owned by City of Jacksonville and the National Park Service.
Coastal wetlands are essential to preserving habitat for fish and wildlife, filtering surface runoff, and providing flood and storm buffering.
This property supports habitat for threatened and endangered species like gopher tortoise, wood stork, Atlantic Sturgeon, shortnose sturgeon, and West Indian manatee. By protecting it from further development, we can keep these vital habitats intact.
How You Can Help
If you are interested in supporting the expansion of beautiful Bogey Creek Preserve and protecting a piece of “Old Florida” make a gift today. To make your gift, visit www.nflt.org/donate and select “Bogey Creek Expansion.”