On November 19th, 45 of us took a hike
to raise awareness (and money) for
Save Guana Now. It was a perfect morning...
What a spectacular day for the first of many outings we've planned in Guana preserve. Save Guana Now's co-founder, Gary Coulliette - a master naturalist and former ranger - took us on one of his favorite hikes in Guana preserve and told us about the flora and fauna along the way. He also included many historical and cultural highlights.
The two-mile hike started on the yellow trail and took us through a wonderful canopy of old growth hardwoods, past a freshwater marsh where the canopy gradually changed to a cover of large cedar trees along the Tolomato River (AKA the Intercoastal). It was the site of the Juan Andreu Minorcan settlement. (One hiker shared with us that he has Minorcan heritage.) We saw indigo plants which are descendants of the original plants that were raised for making dye centuries ago. We also saw a beautiful salt water lagoon and we walked to Shell Bluff. The views were breathtaking.
Our future Guana outings will include a kayak/canoe/SUP trip past the Outpost property (that we're fighting to save), a bike ride on trails that allow bikes, a bird watching outing led by an expert on birds of Guana, a dog walk and a
photo walk led by a pro photographer.
Our hike took us past local artist Randy Pitts who was capturing a beautiful corner of Guana in oils. The views also inspired one hiker's journal entries. Photographers were out in force today, including UNF student photographer Garrett Milanovich who is wrapping up his thesis this semester on our favorite subject: SaveGuanaNow.org If you'd like to include some of your photos from the hike on this page, please email them to info@SaveGuanaNow.org
As we began our trek back, some of us headed directly to the trail head while a smaller group took a side route down the blue trail, to the mile-long boardwalk on the west side of the freshwater marsh for more spectacular views. Then they reconnected with the yellow trail and headed back. We all share a deep concern about the impact that construction and habitat loss at the Outpost would have on this beautiful preserve that almost completely surrounds the 99 acres slated for development.