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1800 Mabry Carlton Way
Venice, FL 34291
Nature Preserve: Bike, Birding, Camp, Hike, Horse, Picnic, Walk, Water Sports, Wildlife
This 24,565-acre reserve was purchased in 1982 for the purposes of developing a well field to provide drinking water for the county. The remaining acreage was set aside for natural resource protection and nature based recreation. The preserve has more than eighty miles of hiking trails, including the twelve mile long Myakka Island Wilderness Trail, which connects the Carlton Reserve with Myakka River State Park. Equestrian trails are also provided though a negative Coggins test is required for all horses that enter the reserve. Most trail intersections are marked with numbered trail markers. Some trails may flood after heavy rainfall and several trails that cross creeks and ditches may be wet year round. A canoe launch to the Myakka River can be accessed from Border Road, just before the reserve entrance. The Public Park at the reserve has ample parking, picnic tables, a visitor’s cabin, and interpretive nature trails for shorter hikes.