GTM Research Reserve Invites Public to Hike the Trails for the Holidays

December 5, 2014

~Step out of everyday living into the sights and sounds of nature~

GTM Hiking

A family hikes one of the six GTM Research Reserve trails.

The GTM Research Reserve reminds everyone that the holiday season is a great time to bring the family and out-of-town guests to the Ponte Vedra Beach and Marineland reserve sites to explore the trails or to visit the Environmental Education Center’s Exhibit Hall. The five northern trails are located near Guana Dam in Ponte Vedra Beach in St. Johns County. The southern trail is at the River-to-Sea Preserve bordering the town of Marineland at the northern tip of Flagler County.

“The GTM Research Reserve is a wonderful place to visit during the holidays,” said Michael Shirley, Ph.D., director of the GTM Research Reserve. “The Education Center provides a unique indoor activity that is especially popular with children, while the outdoor trails provide a great way for everyone to experience Florida’s beautiful natural environment.”

The GTM Research Reserve encompasses almost 74,000 acres of estuary and uplands, and offers nearly 17 miles of great trails for walking, hiking, biking, horseback riding, dog walking, nature viewing and picnicking.

Trained volunteers give free interpretive trail and beach explorations. Maps are available in the GTM Research Reserve’s Environmental Education Center and at the GTM Marineland field office for hiking on your own. Explorers might see aquatic wildflowers, a tidal salt marsh estuary (where the river meets the sea), great blue herons, snowy egrets, storks, roseate spoonbills, pelicans, owls, deer, gopher tortoises, mussels, clams and oysters.

The trails are open daily from 8 a.m. until sunset. Horses and leashed pets are allowed on the Guana Ponte Vedra Beach trails and dogs are allowed on the trail at Marineland. All pets must be on a 6-foot leash at all times. There is a $3 parking fee per vehicle at the Ponte Vedra Beach site.

Please visit www.gtmnerr.org to download a trail map or to reserve a spot for one of the free guided explorations.

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