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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Map of Florida's Nature Coast
Map of Florida's Nature Coast

The Nature Coast is an informal, unofficial region of the U.S. state of Florida. The broadest definition of the Nature Coast includes the eight counties that abut the Gulf of Mexico along the Big Bend Coast defined by geologists: from west to east, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties.[1][2] (Note that the Big Bend Coast differs from the Big Bend region of Florida.)

Many businesses and organizations incorporate "Nature Coast" in their names, but most of them do not explicitly define the region, or define a smaller region. For instance, the Nature Coast State Trail, which is officially designated as part of Florida’s Statewide System of Greenways and Trails, is located in Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties.[3][4] The Nature Coaster website covers only Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties.[5]

This region of Florida is culturally partially southern, with the Deep South culture extending to Levy County. The lower southern end (Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus County) are often considered part of the Tampa Bay Area.

The name "Nature Coast" was devised in 1991 as part of a marketing campaign to attract vacationers to the eight county area. The name eventually began to be used locally, and describes the area formally known as the "Big Bend" of Florida.[6]

Activities common in this area include hunting, fishing, boating, bird watching and nature hiking. Snorkeling spots are found in the rivers along the Nature Coast. Diving and manatee tours are available, predominantly in areas such as Crystal River, Homosassa and Homosassa Springs.

The Naturecoast is home to wildlife including deer, wild pigs, roseate spoonbills, alligators, raccoons, opossums, snakes, great blue herons, egrets, turtles and at least 19 endangered species.

There are also 50 golf courses in the area.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Chaz Bears: Finding Balance for Wildlife and Roadways in Florida's Nature Coast
  • ✪ Things to do in Crystal River on a Weekend Getaway
  • ✪ The Arc Nature Coast
  • ✪ Experience Florida's Nature Coast in Pasco County Florida


(sound of a bear walking through the woods) ♪♪♪ Our bear population was pretty robust before it was settled. Over time, our bear population got pretty low. We think maybe down into the three hundreds. ♪♪♪ A Florida black bear has a home range of about 60 square miles for a male and about 15 square miles for females. And of course that's complicated for bears in the Chassahowitzka ecosystem because there's just not that much area around. So they have to incorporate other places like developments and, you know, crossing major highways to get to other available habitat and that could be, you know, perilous at times. And one of the issues that we've had over here in Chassahowitzka is that the bear population has been kind of isolated from other populations for a really long time. At one point in time it had the lowest genetic diversity of any bear population in the state of Florida. That's important because when you have, starting to have a genetically depressed population, other things, sicknesses, things like that, malformations can arise. This area of Florida, you know, it's considered the Nature Coast. This is what we call this, part of Florida. So there's a lot of water dominated recreation over on this side of the state, but the thing that's really kind of an untapped, you know, gem over here in the Nature Coast is the uplands. If you actually take a look at this area from a satellite view, you have a coastal marsh that goes into mixed hardwood swamp, which comes into a sand hill pine ecosystem. And then, you know, it just continues to move across the landscape, changing every, every so often. And that's important to manage that kind of ecosystem properly. ♪♪♪ One of the great things that's happening in Florida is the focus on creating wildlife corridors throughout the state where we can have large animals like bears and panther and deer and other things that are moving back and forth across the landscape, relatively uninterrupted. You know DOT and the state and the counties are all working pretty hard to try to get that accomplished. ♪♪♪ The project is taking the Suncoast Parkway from US 98 North to State Road 44 and on the east side and the west side is the Withlacoochee State Forest. And so as part of continuing wildlife movement or allowing the continuation of wildlife movement, we're having a wildlife crossing, a bridge that will go through this area it will allow wildlife to go through underneath. We also have four wildlife culverts, oversized culverts in this area, and a little bit to the north, that small mammals and reptiles will be able to utilize. When the project was originally being planned back in the Nineties, the Florida black bear was the primary species that was of concern and knowing that they're in the Chassahowitzka and they do migrate into the eastern side of Citrus County, we wanted to make sure that there was a safe corridor for them that they could, they could use. ♪♪♪ It's a new approach. The conversations with the agencies, they felt like that the best way of mitigating the impacts of the roadway, where to purchase land in the region, that we're located adjacent to existing conservation lands that were managed by Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or the Florida Forest Service. So the idea was to be able to add on to land that they already own and manage to expand their properties, provide additional benefit to the region as far as conservation for species and for habitat. It's very innovative and I think that it provides a benefit for the state of Florida, for the residents and the wildlife that inhabit this region. ♪♪♪ In Florida, having something like the Florida Wildlife Corridor is important because it's not only incorporating conservation lands now managed by the state, counties, local governments, but it's also incorporating private lands and we want people to have these animals on their, on their lands and appreciate that. ♪♪♪ Well, we're like fifth generation Floridians and we just like, we like the wildlife, we like the woods we'd like the property to stay like it is really. ♪♪♪ When we first came up here, Mike Orlando was doing a study on the bears and, of course, he came back here and I went with him to help him track bears, put collars on them, that kind of thing back then. We had a lot of bears get killed on the highway out here by cars. And really there's, I don't think there's that many left in here anymore, but there are some. We've had two or three bears up here. We had one walk up on the deck all the way around the house, look in the bedroom window and then we've had bears across the creek stood there and just, we had one just sit there and just sit on the bank and look at us for about 15 minutes. We were offered a tremendous amount of money and we just decided no, we want to keep it like this. You probably couldn't find another place like this hardly anywhere, you know. ♪♪♪ Just in the last couple of years, we've actually done an updated population estimate. In Ocala, we have about 1,200 bears. In Apalachicola, we're just over a thousand. Down in Big Cypress, we're just over a thousand. The two populations that we're really most concerned about in the state are Highlands County, it's about 150. We think that we only have around 20 to 30 animals here in the Chassahowitzka ecosystem and the reason is because they are a little more isolated from from the other one's, a little more habitat fragmentation and loss. So we are paying attention to movement of bears across the landscape to get to these populations. That's very important to us. We do worry about the amount of loss of habitat that's going on in the state and that's why we really support things like the Florida Wildlife Corridor that's moving up and down the state and across the state to increase population sizes and movement. ♪♪♪ Being successful at protecting the Florida Wildlife Corridor means that we will have these lands and waters for many generations to come, but we know that we can't do it just with the public dollar alone. That's why we're looking at opportunities to partner with groups like the Department of Transportation to collaboratively work on conservation that will lead to benefits to wildlife while allowing economic development and growth to occur in the most reasonable ways. ♪♪♪ We know the more that you care about these beautiful, wild places in Florida, you will be able to share the message with your community, with your elected officials, and be champions for these places to make sure that we can permanently connect, protect and restore the Florida Wildlife Corridor.




Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, partly in Hernando County
Crystal River Archaeological State Park
Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
Crystal River Preserve State Park
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Lake Rousseau
Withlacoochee State Trail
Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins State Historic Site


The Heritage Museum
Weeki Wachee Springs


Letchworth Mounds


Cedar Key Museum State Park
Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve
Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge
Fanning Springs State Park
Manatee Springs State Park
Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park
Goethe State Forest


Rainbow Springs State Park
Silver Springs State Park


Pioneer Florida Museum and Village
Starkey Wilderness Preserve
Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
Conner Preserve


Forest Capital Museum State Park


Bradwell Bay Wilderness
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Ochlockonee River State Park
San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad Trail State Park

See also


  1. ^ "Where would you like to go?". Florida Nature Coast. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  2. ^ "Florida Nature's Coast". Nature Coast Coalition. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  3. ^ "Nature Coast State Trail". State of Florida. Archived from the original on May 15, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  4. ^ "Nature Coast State Trail". Florida Nature Coast. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  5. ^ "Nature Coast Area Map". NatureCoaster. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  6. ^ St. Petersburg Times article, St. Petersburg Times - Feb 23, 1994[dead link]

External links

This page was last edited on 22 September 2019, at 23:22
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