“Nancy Payton Preserve is a 75-acre mesic pine flatwood which is essential forest habitat for a variety of wildlife.
— Alexandra Sulecki
Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Nancy Payton Preserve is open 7 days a week from dawn to dusk.
This trail is a great place to view woodpeckers and other birds. Seven species of woodpeckers have been observed at the preserve, including the federally protected Red-cockaded woodpecker. The open forest allows for long range views, and is ideal for bird watching. But don't forget to look down as well, as the preserve is also home to the state-protected gopher tortoise.
While the preserve is managed to protect wildlife, hiking, horseback riding, nature photography and bird watching are uses consistent with the management plan. Access is challenging at this time because the roadway is not paved and is in poor condition with many ruts. However, there is a five-space parking area at the trailhead which can be reached by driving up Blue Sage Drive, an easement road located along the Golden Gate Canal.
There is no water source at the preserve or trash receptacles. Visitors must bring their own water and pack out trash.
Flora & Fauna
The Florida Breeding Bird Atlas lists 49 species that have been recorded, confirmed or probable in this area. Staff has recorded 26 species present. Due to the presence of the state-listed gopher tortoise, other commensal species may be present, including the threatened eastern indigo snake and the gopher frog. Florida panthers, mangrove fox squirrels and Florida black bears are also occasionally present.
In 2008, staff recorded 147 plant species present at Nancy Payton Preserve. Of those, 121, or 82% are native to the site. Five species are protected, including 2 bromeliads and 3 orchids.