Sunday, September 20, 2009

Big Talbot Island State Park

It breaks my heart a little every time someone says that there aren't any interesting outdoors areas in this region of ours.

So there's no mountains, no snow capped peaks, not even a hill to speak of. Our handful of ancient ruins and historical sites are flanked by souvenir shops. There are no natural lakes, only man-made retention ponds. But there are indeed some treasures of the natural world hidden behind the endless and seemingly uniform walls of trees.

The Big Talbot Island State Park is one of the most amazing sites upon which I've had the pleasure of treading. Most of the parks in our region, be they state, national, or local, have some incredible landscapes, natural features, and nature trails (upon which it is not uncommon to see a few interesting creatures) but Big Talbot Island has probably the most unique feature out of them all.

But first, an overview. Here's what the official site has to say:

Located on one of Northeast Florida’s unique sea islands, Big Talbot Island State Park is primarily a natural preserve providing a premier location for nature study, bird-watching, and photography. Explore the diverse island habitats by hiking Blackrock Trail to the shoreline, Big Pine Trail to the marsh or Old Kings Highway and Jones Cut through the maritime forest.

Launch a boat from the north end of the island to fish and tour the salt marsh or rent a kayak and take a guided paddle tour with Kayak Amelia, (888) 30-KAYAK (305-2925). Kayak tours require advanced reservation.

Visit The Bluffs and enjoy a picnic at one of the pavilions overlooking the water or take a quick stroll down the trail to Boneyard Beach. The unique beach is famous for the salt washed skeletons of live oak and cedar trees that once grew near the shore.

the sea devours the land

Boneyard Beach, or as it's known among many less-creative locals (present party included): Dead Tree Beach, is a majestic site to behold. Arriving at this beach for the first time can be like walking into a dream. The enormous carcasses of ancient oaks litter the shoreline, dumped into the sand and waters as the sea gradually washes the ground out from underneath them. It's a mystical place that carries the emotional weight of sacred ground without requiring a contrived story. So much comes to mind but there's not a lot I can relate. Perhaps it's best you experience the wonder for yourself.

tree island

Unless, of course, you're one of those people who feels compelled to carve your initials into trees or stone. If that's the case then I suggest you just go play in traffic instead and leave the natural wonders to those who truly appreciate them.

Tread lightly and with respect.

Admission Fees:
$2.00 per vehicle.
$2.00 per person to access the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier.
$3.00 per vehicle entrance fee to access the Bluffs picnic area.
$4.00 to use the boat launch.

Big Talbot Island State Park
12157 Heckscher Drive
Jacksonville, Florida 32226
(904) 251-2320

1 comment:

Jeannie said...

oh yea, the Trees Beach. A favorite place. Look in my archives (one of the posts is called Daycation Diverted) and another, earlier in the year than that...can't remember...but i took some fantastic photos of this place. i love it too!