This week, I visited Turkey Creek Preserve, which opened to the public last year (2021). A dozen years after its purchase in 2009, this 376 acre site remains new-growth forest. It is testimony to the fact that it takes decades to reestablish decimated habitat.
There are two trailheads, one of which offers a well-kept parking lot. There are no facilities or trashcans, so be prepared to pack-in pack-out. Although “leave no trace” is considered common courtesy, it’s particularly important when visiting parks that border residential areas. When residents fear noise and spilled garbage, they resist the expansion or establishment of preserves.
As one enters the park, there are signs warning of venomous snakes, which like to sunbathe on the trail. Although I saw no snakes during my December visit, I imagine there are copperheads and pygmy rattlers in the area, since both like to camouflage themselves against orange and brown leaf litter.
The map on the Turkey Creek Preserve web page said that portions of the trail were closed but, during this visit, all were open. It took an hour and a half to walk 4.2 miles of well-marked trail, which included most of the park.
The parking lot is located at 6300 NW 93 Avenue, Gainesville, Florida.