Size: 600 acres
Date conserved: Six acquisitions between 2005 to 2010
Partner Organizations: Florida Communities Trust and USFWS
Tuscawilla Preserve includes a prairie and adjacent uplands, including small creeks and mesic forests. Lake Tuscawilla contains open water during periods of high to moderate water levels, and can be almost completely dry during prolonged droughts. This hydrologic variation is the limiting factor for much of the vegetation, and defines the extent of the forest rim. The hardwood hammocks that surround the prairie are dominated by Live Oak, Southern Magnolia, Hickories, and Cabbage Palms.
The wetlands consist of many small pools which favor wading birds, such as herons, egrets, ibises, and storks. Sandhill Cranes visit the site every fall, and several reside there on a full time basis. Raptors also use the area, as they nest and perch in the surrounding forest and forage across the open savanna. Reptiles and amphibians are common, including breeding populations of alligators, snakes, turtles, and frogs. Mammals include the entire suite of north Florida creatures such as deer, bobcat, raccoons, otters, and rodents.
Tuscawilla is the Seminole name of this area from the time of Chief Micanopy. Adjacent to the north of the Lake Tuscawilla project is the Native American Heritage Preserve, purchased by the Town of Micanopy with funds provided by Florida Communities Trust (FCT). Within a few miles are many other documented archeological sites, such as King Payne's village. William Bartram visited the site on more than one occasion on his trek through North Florida in the 1760s. The recent history of Lake Tuscawilla includes its use for cattle grazing and other agricultural pursuits.
trail head address
Parking is available at the Micanopy Native American Heritage Park directly north from Tuscawilla Preserve. The Thrasher Trail can be found by traveling approximately 0.8 miles East of downtown Micanopy on SE Tuscawilla RD/SE 165th AVE.
GPS coordinates: 29°30'08.4"N 82°16'11.2"W
• Public trails (approx. 1.5 miles) and picnic facilities are available.
• Parking is available at Micanopy's Native American Preserve Park (across the street from trailhead).
• Preserve closes at dark.
• Tuscawilla Learning Center (TLC) offers environmental education programs for children, check their schedule for upcoming opportunities.