A gator in Lake April – just swimming along enjoying the day. [ Sandra Chafin | Contributed ]
| | |

Take a trip down Pond Road for glimpses at local nature

This article is the third in a series by Sandra Chafin Cole exploring the many trails within the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve. To read the first article, click here.

If you’ve been following along with our series on trails in the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve, you have already explored several miles of what the preserve has to offer.

As we continue our adventure, we are going to take Pond Road. 

The actual name of the body of water on Pond Road is Lake April. How it got its name is unknown to the current preserve staff.

Maybe Lake April started out as a pond and eventually grew into a lake, since it is man-made. 

The first preserve manager says it was named by the owner of the property when the state purchased the original 702 acres of the preserve. 702 acres has now grown to 5,027 acres.

Preserve staff try hard to maintain everything in its natural state. They work to inventory and restore the preserves’ natural communities. 

As you pass Lake April and continue down the trail, you will notice both sides of the road have undergone prescribed burning. The longleaf pines are flourishing from the prescribed burns. The undergrowth of palmettos along with other flora and fauna is just what the staff ordered. 

There will be many different species of plants growing under the pines.

Notice the undergrowth, which is home to many wildlife species. There can be as many as 50 different plant species in a small area in the pine forests. Old growth pine forests covered the south before being over harvested for boat and house building. Very few of the old growth piney woods remain, but historically they covered 90% of the southern United States. 

You might see deer while on Pond Road. They seem to like this area and have been spotted many times. They might notice you, look up, then continue eating.

Pond Road is 1.87 miles long. Be sure to bring water, a hat, walking shoes, sunscreen, bug repellent and a phone. Phone service can be spotty in the Uplands, or as staff calls it “the heart of the Preserve.”

Hiking Pond Road is your best bet to see trees, plants, animals and nature at its finest! 

Find out more about the Preserve and its Citizen Support Organization — Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserve — at www.stjosephbaypreserve.org. You can be a member of this growing and vibrant group working to make the Buffer Preserve even better. 

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.