Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Decades in the making, New Tampa Nature Park finally opens

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn tries out a new rope swing at New Tampa Nature Park on Monday after a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the facility. One of the park’s signature features will be the abundant wildlife inhabiting the area.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn tries out a new rope swing at New Tampa Nature Park on Monday after a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the facility. One of the park’s signature features will be the abundant wildlife inhabiting the area.

TAMPA — The zip line is a first for a Tampa city park, but the enduring appeal of the New Tampa Nature Park is probably to be found at ground level.

"You really feel like you're in the woods," said City Council member Lisa Montelione, who encountered a half-dozen feral hogs during a Thanksgiving Day hike in the park.

It's that wildlife — deer, turkey, alligators, bobcats, foxes and even, years ago, a Florida panther photographed in the area — that the new park is meant to make available to city residents.

Along with its own trails and boardwalks, the new park includes a connection to a trail at Hillsborough County's Flatwoods Wilderness Regional Park.

Tampa officials cut the ribbon on the park's first phase Monday, but its history goes back to the late Ken Good, who developed nearby Tampa Palms.

Good, who died last year, envisioned a nature park on the site and created a foundation in 1986, but funding for the project fell through, said Bill Edwards, president of the Tampa Palms Owners Association.

The property languished for years, and the public acquired it with help from the Florida Communities Trust Preservation 2000 program and the county's Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program.

"This area is so rapidly growing, it's nice to preserve a little piece of it so we can enjoy the deer, the osprey, the wild turkey," said Al Donn, president of the Heather Downs neighborhood association in Hunter's Green.

The zip line is about 100 feet long and keeps the rider within 4 feet of the ground, low enough for Martha Shaffer of Tampa to give it a try with her 2-year-old son, Lukas.

"For me to get on that with him, it's a good sign," she said.

.Fast facts

New Tampa Nature Park

Where: 17001 Dona Michelle Drive, east of Interstate 75 and south of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

Hours: Open dawn to dusk, seven days a week; free admission.

Size: 122 acres.

Amenities: Paved multipurpose trail, hiking trails, boardwalk over wetlands, picnic areas, rock and rope playground climbers for kids, zip line, and parking for 22 cars and two buses.

Cost for first phase: $927,469

Decades in the making, New Tampa Nature Park finally opens 11/26/12 [Last modified: Monday, November 26, 2012 11:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida education news: Budgets, principals, vouchers and more

    Blogs

    VETO TIME? Gov. Rick Scott weighs advice on whether to reject the Legislature's education budget. • Pasco County school officials

  2. British Prime Minister May calls Manchester bombing 'a callous terrorist attack'

    Public Safety

    MANCHESTER, England — British Prime Minister Theresa May says that it is "beyond doubt" that Britain and the city of Manchester have fallen victim to "a callous terrorist attack."

    Emergency services work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured.  [Peter Byrne | PA via AP]
  3. Trump condemns 'evil losers' who carried out Manchester concert attack

    Politics

    BETHLEHEM, West Bank — President Donald Trump condemned the "evil losers" responsible for the deadly attack on concert-goers in England Tuesday and called on leaders in the Middle East in particular to help root out violence.

    President Donald Trump pauses as he makes a statement on the terrorist attack in Manchester, after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. [Associated Press]
  4. Tampa Bay Times journalists wins 17 Green Eyeshade Awards

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay Times journalists placed first in seven categories of the prestigious Green Eyeshade awards, which honors outstanding journalism in the Southeast.