Take a hike!

Now that spring is in the air, what better time to get out, explore and enjoy the scenic beauty that surrounds us? If you're looking for someplace new, I suggest checking with your local county or water management district for ideas. Here in the Tampa Bay region, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFMD) has recently released an outstanding  guide to more than 50 recreation sites on conservation land in 16 West Central Florida counties.

Many of the sites listed are not well known,  since they were purchased for conservation purposes. This means they offer great opportunites for seeing  native wildlife and habitat. A few of my favorite hiking spots in the guide include the beautiful Alafia Corridor where the meandering Alafia River offers a refreshing trek during hot weather (see photo), and the Upper Hillsborough wilderness tract where you can see the endangered scrub jay, gopher tortoise and lots of native flowers.
For a free copy of Get Outside, the SWFMD recreation guide, go to http://www.watermatters.org/