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The building and growth in the Sarasota community, a blooming arts town on Florida’s Gulf coast, has been exponential in recent years. Thankfully, the city and county have had a long range plan to develop key natural sites which will hopefully stay green and undisturbed for years to come. The celery fields are a series of lakes, trails and a massive mound which are converted farmland that now looks rustic and wild.
What used to be a makeshift, eroded parking lot is now a paved area with a visitors center and water and bathroom facilities. The beauty of this place is more than your average park or preserve. Unlike most Florida parks it is not forested but completely open fields due to the fact that it was once farmed. This can make it hot during long summer afternoons, but that usually doesn’t deter visitors who can be found almost every waking hour enjoying the refreshment and challenge the site brings.
There are various pathways up and around the mound that lead to larger raised ridges around the property. If you do an outside loop of the entire place it can be a nice five mile run, if you run some of the inside tracks as well you can get up to seven miles in. The soft grass is wonderful on the knees and it is almost constantly mowed so it is dry and clean.
The fields are wide enough to support any number of runners and walkers which is great, traditional paths don’t exist per say, the area is quite wide. People will be fishing the lakes, walking their pets or walking up and down the mound to get some hill work in. All around the top of the mound is a circular trail that gives stunning views out over Sarasota and beyond.
For Bird enthusiasts:
The welcome center is done in cooperation with the Audubon Society and there are trails and lookout spots all over the celery fields especially made for those who love birding. From binoculars to more serious scopes, there are many manifestations of aviary wildlife to catch a glimpse of.