2985 Osprey Trail
Hours of Operation: Open Dawn to Dusk
Many of Florida’s habitats have adapted to the periodic disturbance cause by naturally occurring lightning fires. Without fire, many of these habitats would change to hardwood hammocks and support fewer plant and wildlife species. In some areas, where prescribed fire may not be able to be applied in regular intervals an alternative like mechanical treatments (roller chopping, mowing or timber harvests) are used to reduce the fuel level and mimic similar effects of fire. The benefits of mechanical treatment include improved growth vegetation and habitat revitalization for many species that depend on this habitat, including the state listed gopher tortoise.
The Spring Hammock Preserve is an approximately 1,500 acre property that includes Soldier's Creek Park and Big Tree Park as well as a portion of the Cross Seminole Trail and the Florida National Scenic Trail. Approximately 446 acres of the hammock were acquired by the state and subleased to Seminole County for management purposes. Most of the property remains in a natural state, however the property is surrounded by urban development, except for the east boundary which is Lake Jesup. The Seminole County Public Schools has leased part of the property and built and Environmental Studies Center where they bring grade 5 classes throughout the County to the facility for environmental education. This property is a unique assemblage of floodplain forest, hydric hammock, upland mixed hardwoods and pine flatwoods. There are many rare and listed species including the bipinnate cuplet fern (Dennstaedtia bipinnata), Ockeechobee gourd (Cucurbita okeechobeensis), and the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). There is a boardwalk that leads through second growth cypress forest out to Lake Jesup.
*PLEASE NOTE* The boardwalk going to Lake Jesup will be closed for repair until further notice.