A passive park, the 182-acre Tippecanoe II Mitigation Area exists because of development and road widening nearby.
These impacts on a natural scrub ridge would affect seven Florida scrub-jay families, a threatened species found only in Florida.
Since this preserve shares a boundary with Tippecanoe Environmental Park – one you can’t cross, thanks to the Flamingo Waterway – it’s not surprising that scrub-jays live here too.
They don’t like to travel far from where they were born, and they need the type of scrub habitat found here.
Charlotte County purchased this land, taking it away from the platted development, to preserve it and manage it for wildlife in perpetuity.
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Location: Port Charlotte
Length: 0.6 mile loop
Trailhead: 26.9952, -82.1738
Address: 16259 Joppa Ave, Port Charlotte FL 33948
Land manager: Charlotte County
Open sunrise to sunset. No dogs or smoking permitted. Day use only.
From the junction of US 41 and SR 776 in Port Charlotte at Murdock, follow SR 776 west for 1.7 miles. Turn left on Flamingo Blvd. After a half mile, turn right on Joppa Ave. The entrance to the preserve is on the left at a gate on a curve.
While Tippecanoe II Mitigation Area is relatively small, we saw a lot of wildlife on this hike. We started right off at the trailhead with a gopher tortoise grazing on the grass.
Unfortunately, the trail leading from the parking area to the loop in the preserve had recently been disked as a firebreak. It was tough going for the first stretch.
Along the way were signs pointing out particular trees and plants. Blue signs also marked the trail, but they seemed recent and by now may have been replaced by more permanent markers.
It was a surprise that the signs led us to an enormous mound and climbed right on top of it. Given we could see the Flamingo Waterway from it, it likely is a spoil pile from building that canal.
We think that’s likely because there were large chunks of limestone in the footpath and jutting out of the downslopes.
In some spots it was pretty narrow, but it provided nice views in both directions, particularly into the bowl of scrub forest stretching to the east.
The pile had been here long enough for mature palm trees to grow on top of it. In one spot, a gopher tortoise had used the mound to create an elevated burrow.
This elevated linear walk ended before long, dropping us back down to the forest road that reconnected to where we’d started.
After 0.3 mile, we came to the southwest corner of the loop and followed the trail due west across the scrub.
Although the current map now shows a 1.7-mile linear trail extending south from this leg of the loop, we didn’t find a map at the trailhead, so we missed that turn.
Scrub mints grew on white sand. Up ahead we could see a cluster of birds, and as we got closer, we could tell they were wood storks in a pocket wetland.
A cry from overhead attracted our attention to look up and see an osprey. Wood storks were circling well overhead, too.
The trail leads across the outflow of a wetland and up a small rise, like a mini version of the spoil pile. Scrub oaks top this area.
The understory of scrub was extremely dense, with shiny lyonia sprouting well over our heads. The vegetation pressed in close to the footpath.
Through the scrub, we could see the parking area and returned to it after completing the 0.6-mile loop. Ironically, although we thought we heard one, we never did see a scrub-jay here.
See our photos of Tippecanoe II
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
With 380 acres of uplands and wetlands along the rim of Tippecanoe Bay, Tippecanoe Environmental Park can be explored on an extensive interconnected network of hiking trails.
Follow the natural curves of the creek on a loop through Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port
A legacy of Florida’s early phosphate mining, the Cape Haze Pioneer Trail now provides a protected greenway through a very residential corner of Charlotte County