The Crystal River Preserve State Park covers approximately 30,000 acres and stretches from Power Line Road in the north to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in the south. Located in coastal Citrus County, the park encompasses a wide variety of natural communities from hydric hammock and saltmarsh to scrub and sandhill. The majority of the preserve consists of a mosaic of saltmarsh and hammock, fringed by mangroves which serves as an important nursery and feeding area for many species of animals and helps to preserve the water quality in the adjacent St. Martin´s Marsh Aquatic Preserve.
The preserve offers tremendous opportunities for the development of environmental education programs focused on ecosystem management, ecotourism, environmental citizenship, and natural and cultural history. It fills an important need by providing a land base for the developing ecotourism industry of the region. It also offers the potential of a living laboratory for research into various coastal processes.
Scrub, Mesic Flatwoods, Scrubby Flatwoods, Upland Mixed Forest, Hydric Hammock, Sandhill, Xeric Hammock, Shell Mound, Bottomland Forest, Freshwater Tidal Swamp, Basin Marsh, Basin Swamp, Depression Marsh, Blackwater Stream, Spring-run Stream, Prairie Hammock, Marine/Estuarine Tidal Marsh and Marine/Estuarine Tidal Swamp
Manatee, blue crab, bald eagles, variety of wading birds, mangroves, Juncus. Saltmarsh and mangroves provide nursery and foraging areas.
Hiking and biking on designated 9 mile trail, hiking on designated 2.1 mile interpretive trail, primitive trails, fishing in designated areas, nature study, birdwatching, canoeing/kayaking.
This parcel was named after the Church House Hammock Baptist Church that stood where the Days Inn is now located in 1844.
The boardwalk winds through an old Pinewoods that is slowly becoming a Mesic Hammock. Mesic Hammocks are moderately wet hardwood forests that result from the lack of regular fire. Florida was predominately fire adapted Pinewoods until human habitation limited the movement of cleansing and regenerating wildfires. Restoration of this tract of land involves the mechanical removal of the hardwoods to open up the habitat for species like Longleaf pine, gopher tortoises, and fox squirrels.
The Path to the Past primitive trail begins in the Pinewoods and winds slowly downward through Bottomland Hardwoods and out to a Sawgrass Marsh. This change in habitats due to an elevation drop of only inches is typical of Florida ecology. Our limestone foundation and a water table that is very close to the surface influences moisture content of the soil. This helps determine our varied plant communities.
The Eco-walk is a self-interpretive 2.1 mile trail. Along the way, you will find 11 "Discovery Zones" (under construction) designed to help you experience nature in a unique way. Displays provide tips to practice that will help enhance your observational skills.
With new residents streaming into Florida at a rate of hundreds per day, the survival of natural areas and their wildlife depends on everyone.
After completing your walk, we hope you will leave with a deeper appreciation of natural Florida. Come back again and again to experience the Eco-walk during different seasons. Each time use the tips to hone your skills a little more.
The Eco-walk was developed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with grant assistance from the Florida Advisory Council on Environmental Education (FACEE) and the Florida Game and Fresh Water Commission.
Other attractions include the Mullet Hole and a canue launching site.
Wide variety of education and outreach programs, 2.1 mile interpretive trail, Exploration Point and visitor center.
Cooperation with outside agencies and groups in other research programs, including the Chassahowitzka Black Bear Working Group.
In-house water quality, plant, bird, herpetofauna, and small-mammal monitoring. Prescribed fire program. Invasive exotic plant monitoring and removal. Feral hog removal program. The Crystal River Preserve State Park, along with the St. Martinís Marsh Aquatic Preserve and Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, has been selected to participate in the introduction of an experimental population of whooping cranes since 2001.