Nature Walks – Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve, Flagler Beach, FL
Today I managed to get out of the house despite the fact that the weather was still hot and a little humid (I must be acclimatizing!) to visit the Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve at Flagler Beach. The 217-acre preserve is located along the Matanzas River or Intercoastal Parkway. There is a boardwalk and sand trail leading through salt marsh and hammock. There is a fishing pier on the river and a boardwalk to a tiny beach. The main entrance is located off of Moody Lane, under the Hwy 100 (Moody Blvd.) bridge or from the parking lot located near the Flagler Beach Library, at the corner of 7th and Flagler. The area is rich with biodiversity. There were numerous fish jumping, crabs crawling, lizards slinking, birds hunting, butterflies flitting and so on. In another park nearby, I read that 150 different species of trees and shrubs can be found in the hammock and swamp lands in this area. It seemed to be low tide, so there were exposed oyster beds, shallow waters filled with baby fish and tiny crabs rustling about. Despite being close to a busy beach town, the Preserve is quiet and serene, a nice dip into the indigenous flora and fauna of Flagler County. Below are some photos of the area:
At high tide, the swamp would be fun to explore via kayak or canoe. Some of the more shallow waterways (carved “canals”) had exposed shallows covered with thick oyster beds, not a good thing to walk on in alligator-infested waters. As you can see above, there was a good public boat launch available for access to the Intercoastal, as well. Restroom facilities are available in the Preserve near the boat launch. Benches are also spotted periodically through the hammock areas and along the boardwalk. All in all, the Preserve is a very pleasant place to visit.
All Rights Reserved, Eliza Ayres, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com