Pine Lily Preserve

This area was purchased in order to preserve the native landscape and flora of this special spanse of Florida. It is managed by Orange County, as one of their “Green Place” locations. The total area is only 431 acres, so it is hard to get lost in it. Though the size of the preserve renders it to be smaller than most, it does contain a number of eco-systems – from pine scrubs, oak hammocks, cypress areas, palmetto “ponds” and pastures. Like much of old Florida land, this place also has hidden spoils hinting of its history. I managed to poke around a far portion of the preserve. First walking all the trails and then venturing out to explore for historical relics of old time Florida. Commonly in this type of area, you can find remnants of days gone by. However in Pine Lily, it appears that the original structures have been destroyed for some reason. The preserve is bordered on the South by Hal Scott Preserve, on the East by RT520, on the West by CR13 (some of it is the old dirt road) and on the North by Long Branch Preserve. During my visit I did see a few deer and some tracks of other wildlife.

Pine Lilies
The preserve is named after the beautiful Pine Lily, also known as the Catesby Lily. The blooms vary in color from yellow (a fairly rare color) to almost red, but most are a brilliant orange with darker spots near the base of each petal. The petals themselves have extremes in the amount of spotting present. Each flower is 3-4 inches across and remains open for about a week. They attract a variety of pollinators, but seem to be pollinated mostly by large swallowtail butterflies. They bloom from July through September. Their blooms are becoming rare in Florida, so if you do spot one in the palmettos, cherish it!

General Trail Information
The trails are generally very nice and definably family friendly. They are wide enough so you can walk through without getting tattooed by saw palmettos. In most cases the blazed trails are very well maintained by the county. There are two sets of main trails; these are blazed with red arrow metal tags. There is a short loop about half way into Pine Lily Preserve which is blazed with blue arrow metal tags. In just about all cases the blazes are attached to wooden posts positioned at respectable intervals. The red trail actually goes in two directions from the parking area located on CR13. The main trail heads to the east, through a gate into the heart of the Pine Lily Preserve. The secondary leg starts around the entrance to the parking area and heads south down into the Hal Scott Preserve.

Red/Blue Trail East
This is the main trail at it heads into the center of the Pine Lily Preserve going east through a gate. The trail is marked with posts which have red arrows on metal tags. The trail leads out to a small loop at the end and then you head back to the parking lot. You will pass through a number of eco-systems as you hike the trail. From pine forests, to palmetto “ponds”, to oak hammocks. The red trail is mainly an old road, so size and following it are no problem. There are a couple of spots where water may flow over the trail. The county has brought in small rocks to preserve the trail. When you encounter the wet areas, stop and look around for some wildflowers. These areas are where you should find the largest concentration of wildflowers in the preserve. What you can expect to see will depend on what month of the year you make your visit. There is a small blue tagged trail loop off the red trail. It is about halfway up the red tagged trail. You can do the loop while going out the red trail or do it on your way back on the red trail. I elected to do it on the way back, a little warmer and nicer on the cool day I visited the preserve. It a well maintained trail, passing through different eco-systems in its own right. I entered an oak hammock, then an open scrub pine, palmetto area. This is a nice short loop, worth every extra step. Don’t bypass it!

Red Trail South to Hal Scott Preserve
This section of the red trail starts around the entrance to the parking area, at the old powerlines. As you begin the trail you will hike right along side the powerlines, and then through a lot of palmettos. Eventually you will emerge onto a manmade berm which was either old CR13 or an old railroad bed. It is a nice place to hike as you will be looking out over the pine scrub and palmetto “ponds” which align it. The trail comes out in the Hal Scott Preserve, at a very large, still active canal. At this point you can elect to either head back to the parking area, or continue westward on the north side of the canal. This will bring you to the red trail in the Hal Scott Preserve. Needless to say, you would be in for a very long hike if you decided to take the loop red trail in the Hal Scott Preserve before heading back to the Pine Lily Preserve parking area. You can read more about Hal Scott Red Trails at my Hal Scott write-up - Hal Scott Preserve
During a visit to the area in April 2012 I took the red trail south and then ventured west along the Hal Scott canal over to the Econlockhatchee River area. I then found remnants of an old road through the palmettos heading north to Long Branch Preserve which I took (there is a red trail under the powerlines which also leads into Long Branch). After exploring Long Branch Preserve for a while I found a fireroad which took me back to the Pine Lily parking area. See my tracks listed below under WIKILOC Hikes.

General Exploring
The trails give you a very good glimpse of the Pine Lilly Preserve, but if you want to see more you can follow some of the old roads/game trails which crisscross the 431 acres comprising the preserve. This was an old ranch once upon a time before the county acquired it. As with most of these old pieces of property in Florida, if you look hard enough you will find something! The day I visited the preserve I ventured around somewhat, finding remnants of old buildings, old dumps, cement markers etc. This I believe was just scratching the surface. I suspect that within time, like a lot of Florida history, it will be bulldozed into oblivion. If you do attempt to venture out to do some exploring, I highly recommend that you purchase and become an expert with a handheld GPS unit. If you should find something interesting, email me about it or post a comment to this page.

Here are some of the GPS reference coordinates -
• Parking Area - N28 31.718 W81 05.784
• Trailhead of Red Trail into Preserve - N28 31.718 W81 05.775
• Trailhead of Red Trail down to Hal Scott Preserve - N28 31.712 W81 05.794
• Blue Trail Crossing Red Trail -N28 31.654 W81 05.317
• End of Red Trail – N28 31.661 W81 04.719

In summary –
• This is a conservation area/nature preserve – no hunting is allowed
• Comprised of 431 acres
• Contains 5 miles of blazed roads/trails
• Connects to Hal Scott Preserve, so you can venture in that large area
• Next to Long Branch Preserve, so you can go include those trails into your exploring

My trail maps can be viewed/downloaded at Wikiloc –
• Pine Lily Preserve Red Trail to Hal Scott Preserve Click Here
• Pine Lily Preserve Red-Blue Trails Click Here
• Pine Lily to Hal Scott to Long Branch Preserve and back Click Here

Photos (Click to Enlarge)
Pine Lily Preserve Parking Area Sign
One of The Trees Found in the Pastures
Red Trail/Road View in Pine Lily Preserve
Blue Trail Through The Palmettos
Manmade Pond
Red Trail/Road Going Down to Hal Scott Preserve
Canal In Hal Scott Preserve

No comments: