Exploring New Port Richey
With a downtown residential district straight out of the 1920s, New Port Richey grabbed the attention of the movie industry before “talkies” were invented. Growing up along the shores of the Pithlachascotee River, it edged a vast Gulf Coast estuary where fishing was a livelihood. Over the past half-century, the town sprawled out and spun off suburbs up and down busy US 19.
But wild spaces remain. The most notable of them are the wilderness areas along the Gulf Coast, including Pasco Palms Preserve and the Robert Crown Wilderness Area, both popular with paddlers. At Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, you can walk right up to a half dozen springs along their trail system, or follow the winding waterways up along a wild shore.
To the east, where ranchlands once dominated the vast floodplains of the Anclote and Pithlachascotee Rivers, Starkey Wilderness Park, Seranova Preserve, and other water management lands create and buffer a corridor for wildlife against the constant addition of subdivisions along the Suncoast Parkway. Paralleling the Parkway, the Suncoast Trail is part of the statewide Florida Coast to Coast Trail.
We launched a new full-color edition of 50 Hikes in Central Florida at the National Trails Festival in Deland the first weekend of October. Take a peek inside.
Between New Port Richey and Crystal River, explore a variety of springs along the Nature Coast that provide splashing fun in summer and manatee watching in winter.
When I saw the billboards pop up in downtown Tampa a few years ago touting “Connerton, FL, ” with images of herons and trees, I thought … here we ago again. Create a city in the middle of a rural area and invite sprawl. Indeed, it was a development of regional impact, as they are …