tampabay.com

Parks offer walking, living history programs

By JORGE SANCHEZ
Published February 5, 2007


Two of the area's state parks are offering outdoor programs this month.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is offering a 2.6-mile nature walk that gives walkers an opportunity to exercise amid nature.

The walk follows the Pepper Creek Trail, goes inside the park and returns via Pepper Creek Trail to U.S. 19.

Participants will have an opportunity to see the park's native Florida wildlife as they follow the trails and the Wildlife Walk, an elevated boardwalk.

It's a "walk at your own pace" type of outing, with convenient rest stops along the way.

The Step Up Florida walk will be from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 19 at the park, 4150 U.S. 19 S, Homosassa Springs. Meet at the Visitor Center first. Call park staffer Susan Strawbridge at 628-5343, ext. 102, Monday through Friday to register.

Cracker Days, offering cultural displays from the state's pioneering era, comes to Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon on Feb. 24 and 25.

Living history displays include soapmakers, quilters, basketmakers, wood carvers, corn grinders, spinners, wood turners, chair caners and various other crafters and demonstrations.

Also, the Rainbow Spring park hosts a Gardening Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 26. It includes the following programs:

-"Landscaping for Wildlife: Birds and Butterflies" with speaker Sandra Marrafino at 10 a.m.

-"Native Plants for North Central Florida" with speaker Jane Weber at 11:30 a.m.

-A guided tour of the native plant and butterfly garden with Charles Stevens at 1:30 p.m.

The Audubon Society and the Native Plant Society of Citrus County will have displays and information. There will also be a native plant sale Feb. 24 to 26.

Park admission is $1. Rainbow Springs State Park is 4 miles north of Dunnellon on U.S. 41 (the De Soto Trail). Call (352) 465-8555.

Jorge Sanchez can be reached at sanchez@sptimes.com or 860-7313 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 7313.