In 2007, Sarasota County hired Conservation Foundation to be the acquisition agent for the County’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP). Over the next seven years, Conservation Foundation preserved a number of properties through this program that are considered iconic natural areas. The Myakka Pines site was selected because of its unspoiled condition, as well as its extensive shoreline on the Myakka River and adjacency to the T. Mabry Carlton Memorial Reserve. After its acquisition in 2007, the land was effectively absorbed into the Carlton Reserve.
The Myakka Pines property is located on the Myakka River, within Carlton Memorial Reserve. Protection has precluded development in this scenic area, keeping the river wild and scenic for future generations. Additionally, the land is now part of 110,000 acres of conservation lands on the Myakka. This incredible landscape is a factory of biodiversity, on land and in water. The Myakka River flows to Charlotte Harbor, supplying the clean water necessary for healthy fisheries, including tarpon, snook, grouper, and shrimp.
The Myakka River is considered a “black water stream” because of its dark color; however, black water streams are not actually black, but amber. Unlike other rivers, which may come from snow melt or subterranean springs, black water streams are primarily fed through rainfall across a marshy landscape. When the rain soaks through leaf litter, it picks up tannins from the leaves that stain it, just like tea. Then the water seeps laterally through the ground and collects in a stream. In shallow areas you can see the true color of the water, but where it’s deep, it looks black as can be.
Park at the Carlton Reserve parking area. Take the Myakka Island Wilderness Trail north, about 0.5 miles to the South Powerline Trail and trail marker 10. Head west on the South Powerline Trail for about a mile. West of trail marker 51, the South Powerline Trail passes through the heart of the Myakka Pines property.
For directions, hours, rules, and more information visit the Sarasota County website.