Monday, January 01, 2007

Julington-Durbin Preserve

Julington-Durbin Preserve is a brand new, 2000-acre protected point of land between Julington Creek and Durbin Creek in north Florida. This very diverse piece of land consists of natural longleaf pine forests, sandhill, and swamp. All three times I have been out there, I have seen bear and deer tracks in the road and some monster armadillos feeding in the bushes. The land was originally slated to be a golf course and gated community by the sickos developing the Bartram Park development in southern Duval County (on land from which gopher tortoises mysteriously disappeared.) Fortunately, a deal was worked out with the state of Florida and the St. Johns River Water Management District, and the land was bought for a public park.

My friend, Phil, and I went out to the preserve two weeks ago to walk a portion of the nine miles of trails blazed through the park. The following is a photo essay of our experience. As you read, try to picture this beautiful piece of land as a golf course and a gated community full of manicured lawns and rich people.

Most of the trails lead through the quickly disappearing Longleaf Pine ecosystem that is unique to north Florida and south Georgia. This naturally beautiful ecosystem is home to many endangered animals such as gopher tortoises, indigo snakes, and red cockaded woodpeckers. In some areas, you may be lucky enough to spot hooded pitcher plants with their long, carniverous flowers or the bright fruit of the beautyberry bush. It is not unusual to hear armadillos, raccoons, and deer rummaging around in the palmettos and wiregrass off the trail.

This intriguing wild animal followed me all along the trail. He seemed curious...

This is part of the red-blazed trail. In my opinion, it is the most scenic one in the park. It leads back through the swamp along an old logging road down to Durbin Creek.


This is Durbin Creek about a half-mile downstream from the power lines and the huge gator. Almost the entire stretch of this creek is completely pristine. But look across the creek in this picture. Enjoy the undisturbed swamp while it lasts, because in a few years there will be big docks lining that bank, all thanks to my favorite people in the world, the developers of Bartram Park.


A timber company used to own part of the land the preserve sits on, and there was a cultivated forest of Slash Pines on here. The park managers have taken out the un-natural Slash Pines and have planted Longleaf Pines in their place. In 50 years this forest will be an oasis of natural beauty in a land filled with cookie-cutter houses, rich people, and transplants..."Progress"

25 comments:

Paintsmh said...

Can't wait to see those photos. I didn't have any trouble getting mine up yesterday, which was a big surprise.

Laura said...

Well, I can't wait to see the photos. Blogger must be a real pain sometimes!

By the way, in the previous post, that was an excellent letter to the editor! Where I live, many of the beach side cottages are being torn down for condos, and the locals are complaining that our stretch of the Gulf will soon look like Naples.
UGH!

State leaders don't seem to realize what a gold mine Florida is in its natural state. If they would only practice more stringent conservation measures and impose a stricter moratorium on development in Florida, we could leave our future generation a beautiful state to be proud of. As it is now, we're going to leave them a series of strip malls and concrete buildings with views of polluted waterways.

Congrats to you for recognizing what needs to be done and may you become our Governor ASAP! ;)

Hurricane Teen said...

paint - I am going to try right after I respond to Laura's long comment :-D.

laura - thanks for the comment! I LOVE long comments!

We have a little fishing village near here called Mayport, which is one of my favorite places to visit. It's located right at the mouth of the St. Johns, and has a huge shrimping business. Unfortunately, there are plans to "renew" Mayport by taking out all the old buildings and putting condos up in their place. Wow, people are really happy about this? People just can't see the beauty in an old fish shack like I can.

As for now, I still support you for governor :-D. I'm afraid I do not suck enough blood to get involved in politics! (And I'm not saying you do!)

SophieMae said...

I'll make it unanimous. I can't wait to see the pics, as well. This no-pic problem is getting downright frustrating.

Re the condos... UGH! I would much rather see an old shack, fishing or otherwise, than a shiny new cookie-cutter condo. The shack has character and a story to tell. But I reckon the shacks don't line the destroyers' pockets. Personally, I'd like to dig a moat across the state line, fill it with skeeters and gators and moccasins, throw up a concertina wire fence, secede... Well, I can dream, can't I? 8-]

Hurricane Teen said...

sophie - I'm in the process of getting them up now through photobucket.

I agree. Forget about the fence on the Mexican border, PUT ONE ON THE FLORIDIAN BORDER! But all we would need to do is put line of culture on the border (such as crcker houses and good ol' southern men), and all of the trash would be repelled by it. The good tourists and good northerners that actually have culture (yes, there are many) could get through, but all the greedy developers and ignorant...ummm...people...could not come in. I can dream, can't I?

And if that didn't work, we could always put up a moat full of gators, moccasins, and skeeters, as you suggested. If only somebody would invent a Yankee filter. They say necessity is the mother of all invention, and I would certainly say it is necessary!

Paintsmh said...

Yikes! Next time my aunt tries to get me to come down and visit, I'm gonna tell her your moat is going to be a little much for me to handle!

Hurricane Teen said...

ha ha paint...but, are you a Yankee? There's a difference between a northerner and a Yankee :-D. There are actually some southern Yankees, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Just curious - what is the difference between an northerner and a Yankee??

John Cowart said...

When I checked your blog the other day, the photos would not come up but today they are working fine.

Good job.

Paintsmh said...

Hey anonymous. I'm wondering the same thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure he'll fit me into one or the other of those categories (if not both!) -- but am not sure which is the "better" option. But I know he'll be careful about what he says, as we are related...:-)

Hurricane Teen said...

ha ha ha ha....I plead the fifth. :-D

Hurricane Teen said...

by the way, this post is not yet finished...there's still more stuff to come, but I want to get a lot of sleep tonight, so that update will not be now. goodnight :-D

Paintsmh said...

Aww, come on. Now how are we ever going to know if we are just northerners, or true Yankees? Geesh. Kids these days.

Hurricane Teen said...

well, that is a matter of opinion. You should know :-D.

Paintsmh said...

I am probably being just a bit dense as a result of a lack of coffee, but which part of that should I know? And you can't plead the fifth on this one. :)

Floridacracker said...

Well you dug yourself a little ditch of your own with your Yankee vs. Northerner comment. Nice job of getting out of it ... maybe you will be governor some day :)

Off topic, If you haven't hiked in Guana, you should give it a try. I spent a lot of time there when I was your age ... pre state park status.

Hurricane Teen said...

Wow, I have had 17 comments on this post...and almost all of them are not even about the post itself!!!

paint - you should know whether you are or not. I'll buy you a coffee maker!!!

FC - Agh, if I was governor...ha ha, if I was governor...well you have an imagination :-D I have kayaked Guana a couple times, and it is probably one of the best birdwatching spots in our area. I have not hiked there yet, but I will make it out there sometime, I am sure. Did you hear that a bunch of newcomers wanted to build a high school in the Guana preserve? They ended up deciding to put it in Palm Valley off of CR210. You ought to see Palm Valley Road, FC. They are constructing a BIG highway there called "Nocatee Parkway." Sickening. Oh well, I guess deep down we all knew it was going to happen.

And, to all of you, I will speak no words of this "yankee/northerner" thing again. It's simply too sensitive a topic.

Paintsmh said...

Aww darn. Now how are we supposed to pick on you?

SophieMae said...

Great pics! It's a beautiful area. Imagining it as a golf course is just too painful. That last pic is gorgeous. I need to get over that way sometime soonly. Meanwhile, I'll have to get out in my own little fraction of forest.

Have you been able to ID the curious critter that followed you around? Perhpas a Georgius inquisitus? 8-]

Hurricane Teen said...

paint - trust me, there's MANY ways you can pick on me :-D

sophie - I'm thinking it's more like Phillieus Estupidas.

SophieMae said...

Love that creek! Thanks ever so for sharing it before it gets ruint.

Hurricane Teen said...

That is one of my favorite kayaking spots. Nobody knows about it, and it has some of the oldest centennial Cypress trees in the state. One of them I know about is 28 feet around...I will post a picture of that tomorrow, actually.

Sharon said...

I can't see the pics, but I just discovered this place today. I found your post googling for info about it, of all things! LOL. I found it when I took the new Bartram Park blvd all the way through to Racetrack. I can't wait to go walk around, it was too rainy today. :)

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