Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Moccasin Slough Park Offers an Oasis on Fleming Island

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Moccasin Slough Park Offers an Oasis on Fleming Island

Article excerpt

Byline: BETH REESE CRAVEY

The birds own the place.

Their discussions and movements provide the most prominent sounds along the uplands trail in newly completed Moccasin Slough Park, despite the park's location on Fleming Island just off busy U.S. 17.

The trail begins in an open area adjacent to a parking area, but after crossing a creek it disappears into woods full of tall trees and low palmetto plants and wet areas before circling back to where it started.

The trees somehow drown out the noise of a six-lane highway.

With the park's grand opening set for noon Tuesday, Feb. 23, the birds soon will be joined by visiting walkers, hikers and cyclists, as well as children on the playground and families enjoying the trail and picnic areas. When the humans leave at dark every day, the birds will remain.

Want to know more about the park? Here's a brief "Moccasin Slough 101":

What's a slough?

"An area of soft, muddy ground; swamp or swamplike region," according to www. dictionary.com. Sounds like "slew."

Where is it?

Corner of U.S. 17 and Westover Road; access off Westover.

History:

Moccasin Slough was one of the last large, privately held and undeveloped tracts on the St. Johns River between Palatka and Jacksonville, according to the North Florida Land Trust. In 2003, Clay County purchased the 255-acre tract, with funding help from the Trust for Public Lands, Florida Communities Trust and the North Florida Land Trust.

Who paid for it?

According to the county Parks and Recreation Department, the bulk of the $4.3 million price was paid by a $3.2 million Florida Communities Trust Grant. Another $765,000 came from a Trust for Public Land grant, which included $100,000 from the North Florida Land Trust. The remaining funding was $200,000 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and $100,000 from Clay County. …

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