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Saturday, March 28, 2015, 10:00AM--The Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail held the Spring 2015 trail walk. Guided hikes on trails in the Scenic Byway corridor have been a regular part of the OSLT's educational outreach since 2008. This walk, our twelfth, was led by biologist Dr. Don Spence. We walked north through Gate 11 on the Yellow Trial in perfect weather discussing the natural history of the area and specific matters related to ecology, climate change, native and invasive plant and insect species.
Of special interest were Dr. Spence's comments about the laurel wilt disease which is decimating red bay trees as evidenced by a completely brown-leafed and dead specimen on the trail. Don is an expert on this insect-borne fungus that has decimated the red bay population over the entire southeastern United States. Laurel wilt can kill a red bay in little more than a week or two Don said, faster than any other known disease process can take a tree down. However Don went on to tell us about a fascinating project in which a few individual red bays that are apparently resistant to laurel wilt have been cloned and propagated with the possibility that this majestic tree species might return to the southeast at some point. Nearly half of the group met up at the Bulow Park for a picnic lunch after the walk. Look for our fall 2015 trail walk to be announced later this year.
Photos taken by Rob Bird show hike participants at the wildlife
observation platform built many years ago by Halifax River Audubon
and recently refurbished, with new interpretative signage, by Cody
Carrier as his Eagle Scout project. The the right, hikers look
out over Bulow Creek.
Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail (OSLT) is a 30+ mile double loop of roadways traversing some of the most beautiful and diverse natural scenery remaining in all of northeast Florida. There is ready access to the Atlantic Ocean, North Peninsula, Tomoka and Bulow Creek State Parks as well as numerous city and county parks. The roadway view includes unobstructed vistas of two rivers, creeks and marshes, barrier island dunes and beach, and historic dwellings. Visitors seeking a cultural and/or historic experience will find museums and historic public buildings and private homes along the corridor, in Tomoka State Park and in locations a few blocks off the designated roadways. Recreational opportunities abound with numerous parks and trails offering boating, fishing, hiking, swimming, bicycling, beach walking and much more. Vast expanses of water and natural Florida scrub vegetation create beautiful scenic vistas waiting to be photographed. Northern right whales and humpback whales can be seen offshore during migration seasons. Dolphins are a common sight. Loggerhead, green and leatherback turtles use the sandy beaches along A1A for nesting. NOTE: View or download an 8.5 x 11 inch, printable map by clicking on the "Map" link in the blue header above. Or click on the image to the right.
Start the Tour: The Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail is a double loop of roadways, so the tour can begin at any spot along the route. For this description, we’ll begin at the intersection of A1A and Highbridge Road, heading west on Highbridge. Parks for picnicking, fishing and boating (with restrooms) are located on both sides of Highbridge Road, just before crossing the drawbridge. Watch for wading birds and seasonal ducks in the canals and marshes beside the road and take note of the bicyclists who share this very narrow, scenic and winding road. At the stop sign, turn left onto Walter Boardman Lane. Parking is available at the low fishing bridge and further along at a walking trail through Bulow State Park. At the stop sign, turn left onto Old Dixie Highway, a 9-mile stretch of roadway running through an oak canopy and into open marshes. There is parking available at James Ormond Park, the Fairchild Oak (part of Bulow Creek State Park) and the Dummet Plantation Ruins. Restrooms are available at Fairchild Oak. The entrance to Tomoka State Park ($5 admission fee; restrooms inside the park) is on the left before entering the residential section of Ormond Beach featuring the Halifax River/Intracoastal Waterway on the left. The small weathered shingle building sitting on pilings on the left is the Ormond Yacht Club boathouse, built in 1910 and named to the National Register of Historic Places in June 2005. At the traffic light, turn left and cross the Granada Bridge which features grand river vistas, pedestrian paths on both sides and parks on all four corners. At the foot of the bridge, turn left onto John Anderson Drive, a narrow thoroughfare passing new and historic residences, pocket parks and opening into undeveloped property as you approach Highbridge Road once again. Turn right (east) onto Highbridge and right onto A1A, a two-lane state road that runs through North Peninsula State Park which parallels the Atlantic Ocean on the left and contains an example of coastal scrub habitat on the right. You’ll pass roadside parking for sea watching and beach access, several parks with picnic and restroom facilities, restaurants and historic sites. From December through March the endangered Atlantic Right Whales travel from the North Atlantic to the warm waters off the coast of central Florida to give birth. Adults and their calves are often spotted off shore along A1A. See the Marineland Right Whale Project website for information and photos. Endangered sea turtles come on shore to lay eggs and hatchlings return to the sea from the beaches along A1A. Sea turtles nest along our beaches and are monitored and protected by County staff and volunteers. At the intersection of A1A and Granada Blvd. (SR 40) is a park on the ocean and shopping/restaurant facilities on the west. Turn right onto SR 40 to pass well-maintained sidewalks with specialty shops, a museum, gardens, tennis facility and The Casements—the historic former winter home of John D. Rockefeller which is open to the public. Private owners of the historic Ormond Beach Firehouse have restored it to its original glory and it now houses the law firm of Snell Legal. Read/download the history of the building. The City of Ormond Beach offers numerous opportunities for leisure activities, shopping, dining, arts, culture, history, and more. Learn more at http://www.ormondbeach.org/.
The Virtual Guide to the Daytona Beach Area offers a 360-degree view of a portion of the corridor as well as still photos and map locations of other resources which can be accessed from the roadways.
Comments or questions, contact OSLT