Thank you for your interest in the February 8 outing at Fish Hawk Creek Preserve in Riverview. We will meet at 9:00AM at the south trailhead on Boyette Road. This new facility has a parking lot, 3 picnic pavilions, basketball court and a walk-thru to the trails (no restrooms yet). Please bring water, sun protection, a snack and insect repellent. We will take several short water breaks and stop to observe any interesting wildlife or plants. No pets. please.
We will hike for about 3 hours at this 3,500-acre Hillsborough County property. Our 6-mile route will be in the portion of the preserve located just south of the Fishhawk Ranch residential community. Fish Hawk Creek flows through the preserve to the Alafia River. The trails consist primarily of double-track dirt roads which pass through forested areas. There are also some mowed, grassy lanes that take us through open areas formerly used for raising cattle.
A guidebook notes the environmental significance of the property as follows: "This preserve includes some of the rarest upland habitat in the region. Approximately 250 acres of sandhill habitat, a natural community that occurs on extremely well-drained, gently sloping soils, is found along the higher elevations of the Fish Hawk Creek corridor...Other significant wildlife habitat also exists in the preserve, including scrub (110 acres), hardwood forest (250 acres), flatwoods (185 acres) and hardwood swamp (400 acres)."
Participants must be physically fit, able to keep up with the group and willing to get their shoes wet on some trails. I will select a "sweep" to help me keep the group together and to signal me if we need to stop. The "sweep" brings up the rear and ensures that no hiker is left behind. No stragglers, please.
Please use your own good judgment about weather conditions. The leader hikes rain or shine and starts on time.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS FROM TAMPA TO FISH HAWK CREEK PRESERVE (16640 Boyette Road, Riverview, FL 33569):
1. Take I-75 south to Exit 250 (Gibsonton Road).
2. Drive east on Gibsonton Road about one mile to US 301.
3. Drive south on US 301 about 2.5 miles to Rhodine Road on your left.
4. Turn left into Rhodine Road and drive east 5.5 miles to intersection with Boyette Road.
5. Turn right into Boyette Road and drive about one mile to trailhead on your left (look for basketball court). No parking or entrance fees required, so far.
6. I will have my cellphone turned on from about 8:00AM through the conclusion of the outing on February 8. Please call[masked] if you have a question or problem that you think I can assist you with.