Lots of improvements have been happening along the trails in our Backwoods Forest Preserve. Of late several new kiosks have been installed at the trail heads that will soon be packed with information for our guests. The trails in the preserve have been resurfaced with a mix of native shells which allows rainwater to percolate through the trails and reduces the impact of the trails on this habitat. Also, a new boardwalk has been installed as a walkway over a wetland area so that visitors can get up close and personal with an otherwise difficult to investigate area.
About the Back Woods Forest Preserve:
Located in the Southeastern portion of the MOSI campus, the Back Woods is a diminutive forest oasis in a sea of urban development. Packed into 25 acres is a notable array of many Central Florida habitats, complete with distinct sandhill, hardwood wetland, mesic pine flatwoods, and upland hardwood hammock communities.
Currently, MOSI staff and volunteers are working to restore these habitats, remove invasive species, refurbish trails and boardwalks, and create new interpretive signage and guides to make this area a better educational experience for all of our guests and the surrounding community. Look for changes to the Back Woods as we continue to improve this area.
For updates, volunteer opportunities, and to follow our progress on this project; check out our Blog The Longleaf: An Urban Forest Legend.
The Back Woods forest is open to the public 365 days a year during the Museum’s operating hours (9-5 M-F, 9-6 Sat/Sun). There is no admission fee to the Back Woods and Museum admission is not required for use. Intoxicants, firearms, hunting, bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, motorized vehicle use, collecting of plants or animals, and smoking are not permitted within the preserve boundaries. Pets must be leashed and all pet waste picked up and disposed of properly.
In 2007 MOSI was awarded a Pollution Recovery Fund grant from the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County. Current restoration activities, including non-native invasive plant treatment, are funded under this grant.
Here are some pictures of early Spring in the Back Woods Forest Preserve at MOSI: new leaves, tiny flowers, colorful lichen, carpets of moss, seed pods and more!