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Planning Department (ESL)
20 N. Main St.
Room 262
Brooksville, FL 34601

Fax: (352) 754-4420

Staff

Michael Singer
Conservation Lands Specialist
Email
Office (352) 754-4057
Ext. 28020
Cell (352) 428-4610

Dawn Velsor
Lead Environmental Planner
Email
Office (352) 754-4057
Ext. 28019

Mary Elwin
Operations Support Supervisor
Email
Office (352) 754-4057
Ext. 28015

Hernando County Preserves

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ESL Home                Projects                FAQ

The following Hernando County preserves, managed by the
Environmentally Sensitive Lands Program, will remain open
for the duration of the Governor's Executive Order 20-91,
so long as CDC guidelines for social distancing are followed:

Cypress Lakes Preserve
Fickett Hammock Preserve
Equestrian trails at Lake Townsen Preserve

Properties acquired by the Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL) Program are designated as preserves.

  • Preserves are properties acquired by the Hernando County Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL) Program and Parks that meet program criteria (9 Preserves):
  • Preserves are publicly owned conservation lands managed to protect natural resources and unique features,
  • Recreation on Preserves is intended to be compatible with their natural resources
  • Most County Preserves are open to the public during daylight hours with exception of Peck Sink (18279 Wiscon Rd. – by appointment only)
  • No hunting or overnight camping is allowed on ESL preserves.

Cypress Lakes Preserve - 331 Acres

Cypress Swamp

Open Daylight Hours
Address: 32375 Cortez Blvd., Ridge Manor, FL 34602

State Road 50/98 and Ridge Manor Boulevard in eastern Hernando County.  Entrance to unimproved parking area is behind the Fire Station on SR 50/98.

  • 8 natural plant communities (including lakes, freshwater marsh, cypress swamp, bottom-land hardwoods, live oak hammocks, scrub, and sand-hills),
  • 5 designated by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) as imperiled
  • Supports wide range of wildflowers and animals (some threatened and endangered) * .The Florida National Scenic Trail is marked with “Florida Trails” blazes (marked in orange).

Features and Recreation:

  • Hiking trails and seasonal wildflowers
  • Bird watching (Best in fall and winter months with migrating birds)
  • Scenic views of hardwood hammocks, oak & saw palmetto scrub, cypress-ringed lakes (with high water marks over your head – some portions of trails can flood)
  • Purchased in cooperation with Florida Communities Trust (FCT) and Hernando County ESL Program.

The management of Cypress Lakes Preserve includes the restoration of two fire dependent vegetative communities, Sandhill and Scrub. Both of these threatened habitats are home to State protected plants and wildlife which are well adapted to frequent fire.

Preserve Resources:


Fickett Hammock Preserve - 155 Acres

Fickett Hammock

Open Daylight Hours
Address is: 15482 Centralia Road, Brooksville, FL 34614

Fickett Hammock is northwest of Brooksville on Centralia Road just west of Citrus Way.

  • Forested hardwood hammock with some flatwoods and sandhill, seasonally flowing streams and saw palmetto thickets. Interesting trees include hickory, dogwood, hop hornbeam, ironwood, American holly, and swamp chestnut oak.

Features and Recreation:

  • 2.3 mile looped hiking trail starts at paved parking lot, passes a seasonal stream through oak hammocks, hickory groves, Sparkleberry thickets.

Preserve Resources:


Peck Sink Preserve - 112 Acres

peck sink

Open Daylight Hours
Address: 18279 Wiscon Rd., Brooksville, FL 34601

Peck Sink Preserve is not yet developed for public recreation- it can be accessed during daylight hours by Appointment.

  • A deeply cut drainage channel leading to a group of impressive sinkholes are dominant features of this preserve;
  • The sinkhole group includes swallet holes where stormwater drainage runs directly into the Floridan Aquifer (water-bearing rock formation), the source of Hernando County’s drinking water;
  • Water draining to the main sink includes stormwater from much of the western side of the City of Brooksville;
  • Management focuses on improving water quality entering the aquifer, trash removal, restoring natural vegetative communities by removing invasive plants, and providing future passive public recreation with education.

Features and Recreation:

  • A water quality treatment system with stilling basin and filter marsh remove pollutants and sediment as water moves through the stormwater system and back into the channel to Peck Sink;
  • Future recreation includes a walking trail from the parking area to an overlook at the main sink.

Peck Sink properties purchased by Hernando County ESL Program with a Stormwater Treatment System developed with funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD).  

Preserve Resources:


Bayport Park - 15 Acres

Bayport

Open 24/7
Address: 4140 Cortez Blvd, Spring Hill, FL 34607

Bayport Park is on the Gulf of Mexico at the end of County Road 550 / Cortez Boulevard.

  • Bayport Park is at the mouth of the Weeki Wachee River just downstream of the junction with Mud River.
  • Bayport offers scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico, salt marshes, and cabbage palm islands.  Watching the sunset is also a favorite pastime.

Features and Recreation:

  • Park amenities include boat ramps and trailer parking, boardwalk with panoramic views, pier, kayak launch, picnic pavilions with barbecue grills, and restrooms;
  • Historical signage describes Bayport’s rich history;
  • Popular activities include fishing, crabbing, bird and wildlife viewing, picnicking, and photography.

Bayport Park expansion was funded in cooperation with Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), a Management Agreement for use of District land, and Hernando County’s ESL Program.  Bayport is a County Park that meets the Hernando County ESL Program Criteria with operations currently funded by the ESL Program.  A Florida Boating Improvement Program grant from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) helped fund the boat ramps.  

Park Resources:


Chinsegut Hill - 117 Acres

Tour Hours 10AM-2PMManor-House
Recommend calling ahead (352) 799-5400
 
Address: 22495 Chinsegut Hill Rd, Brooksville, FL 34601   

  • Chinsegut Hill Manor House on the US National Register of Historic Places
  • Property is leased by Hernando County from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with the “Chinsegut Hill Retreat” center managed by the Friends of Chinsegut Hill, Inc.
  • Chinsegut Wildlife Management Area and Withlacoochee State Forest tracts are nearby
  • The County Commission and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) entered into an Agreement with the Florida Forest Service (FFS) for natural resource management on the remainder of the property funded and managed by ESL Program.
Construction on the manor house began in 1847; through the years the occupants collected exotic plants from around the world.  The goal is to restore Chinsegut Hill’s landscape to native plant communities and prevent the spread of exotic invasive plants.

Features and Recreation:

  •  Manor House / Chinsegut Hill Retreat 
Chinsegut Hill is “leased” by Hernando County from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).  The Chinsegut Hill Retreat facilities are managed by the “Friends of Chinsegut Hill”, a Not-For-Profit 501 (C)(3).The remainder of the property is managed by Florida Forest Service (FFS) for Hernando County ESL program under a Memorandum of Understanding with Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).  
  
A large portion of the managed natural area at Chinsegut Hill is comprised of Sandhill community.  Sandhill is a fire dependent community, which means it needs frequent fire across the landscape to be maintained.  Florida native plants and animals are adapted to this regime and flourish in this ecosystem. 

Manor Resources:


Lake Townsen Preserve - 374 Acres & Nobleton Wayside Park- 3 Acres

OPEN DAYLIGHT HOURSLakeTownsen
Lake Townsen Preserve Address: 28011 Lake Lindsey Road (CR 476), Brooksville, FL 34601   
Nobleton Wayside Park Address: 29061 Lamkin Dr, Nobleton, FL 34601

Lake Townsen Preserve and Park in northeastern Hernando County, near Istachatta; Nobleton Wayside Park is less than ½ mile to the east of Lake Townsen Preserve off Lake Lindsey Rd and Lamkin Dr.

  • Lake Townsen is mainly longleaf pine sandhill habitat
  • Bordered by the Withlacoochee River on the east and the Withlacoochee State Trail
  • County Commission has approved development of a gopher tortoise recipient site for County projects on the Preserve

Features and Recreation:

  • County Park with boat ramp and fishing pier, picnic pavilions, restrooms, tot lot, sand volleyball  
  • Trails and amenities for horseback riding and trails for hiking
  • Bat houses present
  • Nobleton Wayside Park is a neighborhood park with covered picnic tables, a half basketball court, and canoe launch at the end of Lamkin Dr. (no improved parking provided).
Lake Townsen/Nobleton Wayside Parks are County Parks that meet the Hernando County ESL Program Criteria with operations currently funded by the ESL Program.  
Lake Townsen Preserve has scrub and sandhill vegetative communities.  These threatened communities have plants and wildlife that are listed for State protection.  Scrub and sand hill communities are fire dependent with native plants and animals that are adapted to frequent fire.

Park and Preserve Resources:


Linda Pedersen and Jenkins Creek Preserve & Park - 129 Acres


OPEN DAYLIGHT HOURSJenkins
Address: 6401 Shoal Line Boulevard, Hernando Beach, FL 34607

Jenkins Creek is on the west side of CR 595/Shoal Line Blvd with Pedersen Park is opposite on east side (entrance drives are not lined up with each other).

  • Linda Pedersen Preserve includes Jenkins Spring and spring run, freshwater marshes, and flatwoods
  • Linda Pedersen is adjacent to Weeki Wachee Preserve and its trail network (link to Weeki Wachee Preserve)
  • Jenkins Creek Preserve includes the spring runs, salt marsh, and hydric hammock.

Features and Recreation:

  • Linda Pedersen Park includes forty-foot observation tower, playground, picnic pavilions with grills, swimming area and beach with floating dock????, showers and restrooms, and small Port Authority Building
  • Playground and beach are connected by bridge
  • Jenkins Creek Preserve Park amenities on three acres that include a boat ramp with Gulf access for small vessels, parking, fishing piers, and restrooms
  • Panoramic scenic views of the salt marsh and Gulf with wildlife viewing
  • Coming Soon to Linda Pedersen Park:  Improved kayak dock for launching (to be installed by Waterways Aquatic Services with Public Works Department) near the foot bridge.
  • Funding from the ESL program supports these parks. The Site Map shows the location of Linda Pedersen Preserve/Park and Jenkins Creek Preserve/Park. 

Linda Pedersen/ Jenkins Creek Preserves are County Parks that meet the Hernando County ESL Program Criteria with operations currently funded by the ESL Program.

Park and Preserve Resources:

  • Parking Pass Information
  • Linda Pedersen /Jenkins Creek Photos
  • Linda Pedersen Jenkins Creek Management Plan