WJCT presents a collaboration between the University of North Florida's Environmental Center and Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida on 19 short videos showcasing the city, state and national parks of the First Coast, produced by Sean Lahav, a project leader in the environmental leadership program.
Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve
Pumpkin Hill Creek Park is located east of Jacksonville in the heart of wetlands and woods that make up the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and Talbot Islands State Parks.
Excellent for nature watching, the park also plays host to many recreational activities, including horseback riding and fishing.
Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset daily
Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve is one of the largest undisturbed areas of coastal uplands in Northeast Florida.
Boasting salt marsh, creeks, maritime hammock and open meadows, the park is home to many animals, including the American alligator, the threatened wood stork, rattlesnake, white-tailed deer, gopher tortoise, turkey, red-tailed hawk and a variety of dwelling songbirds.
The park also hosts one of the largest insectivorous plant species, the hooded pitcher plant.
Cat-face marks cut into the trunks of longleaf and slash pine trees of Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve serve as evidence of a once-booming turpentine industry in Florida. The trees were tapped for sap, which was then processed into turpentine.
A canoe and kayak launch offers easy access to the marshes. Three access points to the surrounding creeks welcome fishing.
The park has five picnic areas, with two areas overlooking the salt marsh of Pumpkin Hill Creek.
The park invites hiking, off-road biking, wildlife viewing and horseback riding. Interpretive ranger programs through the Talbot Islands State Parks, of which includes Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve, are offered on occasion during weekends.
Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve has five trails, ranging in length of up to 5 miles. Bike and horse trails begin at the parking area.
- If you visit Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve, check signs for areas of prescribed burns, and stay on the designated tracks.
- Surrounded by tidal creeks, the park is an ideal venue for fishing. Anglers, whether onshore or on a boat, often catch redfish, flounder and speckled sea trout.
Parking: There are two parking lots that can accommodate horse trailers and large vehicles.
Direction via Interstate 95: Drive north on I-95 and take exit 362A for Interstate 295. Stay on I-295 for a little over 4 miles and take exit 40 for Alta Drive. Follow Alta Drive as it turns into Yellow Bluff Road and then turn right onto Cedar Point Road. A left on Nungezer Road leads to Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve.
Vince Kong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter @teamvincek