Free Guided Hikes at Pepper Ranch Preserve

SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2016

Conservation Collier will be offering free guided hikes led by Master Naturalists at selected Pepper Ranch Preserve trails on Saturday, April 23, at the Pepper Ranch Preserve, 6315 Pepper Road, Immokalee, Florida 34142.  Directions: From Immokalee, take State Road 29/Main Street north to Lake Trafford Road. Turn left and travel 2.9 miles to Pepper Road. Turn right and travel 0.9 miles to Pepper Ranch Preserve.

CRA office 003Pepper Ranch Preserve is a 2,512-acre Conservation Collier preserve property that was acquired with the goals of protecting and restoring the native habitats for the benefit of wildlife, providing aquifer recharge, and to provide current and future residents an opportunity for nature-based recreation and education.  Wildlife documented on the preserve includes the endangered Florida panther, gopher tortoises, crested caracaras, Florida sandhill cranes, white-tailed deer, bobcats, wild turkey and more! There are approximately 10 miles of shared hiking/biking/horseback riding trails on the preserve, which meander through prairies, hardwood forests, along the edges of freshwater marshes and through shady cabbage palm and pine flatwoods.

Hikers must register in advance as hiking groups will be limited to 20 people. Walk-ins on the day of the hike will be accepted if there is available space. There will be a sign in sheet onsite. Hikers will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Visitor Center for sign in, and safety briefing and the hike will begin promptly at 10 a.m.

The terrain is uneven but hikes will be of easy to moderate difficulty and will cover approximately 3 miles, taking about 2 hours, hiking leisurely. Hike leaders will select the trail in advance for each hike. Participants should wear appropriate footwear (boots or hiking shoes recommended – no sandals) and hats. Participants should also bring insect repellant and water. Trails may be wet. There are restrooms available at Visitor Center.

The Conservation Collier Program was established by local referendum in 2002 to acquire, preserve, restore, and maintain vital and significant threatened natural lands located in Collier County for the benefit of present and future generations. Conservation Collier currently owns 4,067 acres in 19 different locations throughout the County. For more information or to register for a hike, call (239) 252-2961. Visit collier for more preserve information.

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