FRED MAYS PHOTOS
Enchanted Forest in Titusville offers 4.5 miles of hiking trails,
some of which are handicapped accessible.
WINTER 2023: 37
At some point the county commission
will vote on a new bond issue
to purchase additional land. Some
27,000 acres have been identified to
be added to the system. That nearly
doubles the size of EEL property.
The preservation program first
started in 1990, was renewed in
2004, and again in 2022. Over the
years it has accumulated 28,000
acres in 21 sanctuaries throughout
the county. The land is set aside for
passive recreation, mostly hiking,
and habitat preservation.
“The program has been very
successful in restoring unhealthy
ecosystems to ensure our local plant
and animal populations can survive
on a long-term basis,” Knight said.
Hiking is the primary passive
recreation on EEL properties. All 21
parcels, most are called sanctuaries
not parks, have hiking trails that
total more than 80 miles. There is
fishing at some of the areas, others
have paddle trails for canoes and
kayaks and a few allow mountain
biking. Knight says 150,000 people
visit the EEL properties each year.
One of the largest sanctuaries is Fox
Lake in Titusville with more than
2,500 acres. In addition to fishing, it
has pavilions for family picnicking
and large group gatherings. It is
also home to a resident family of
sandhill cranes that are not shy
about patrolling the pavilion areas in
search of food.
PERFECT FOR HIKING
The most popular location is
actually the first one to be added to
the system, the Enchanted Forest
Sanctuary in Titusville. It offers
a network of hiking trails that
total 4.5 miles. Some of the trails
Visitors at the Barrier Island Sea Turtle Sanctuary’s education center can learn about the turtles that come ashore during the peak nesting season in June and July.