The trail in environmental stewardship that the Manatee Viewing Center has blazed since 1986  is one that you can enjoy at ground-level.

November 1  marks the opening of the center’s coastal habitat trail, a mulched path that winds eight-tenths of a mile through saltern, coastal high marsh and coastal strand habitats. Like the MVC, it’s free to the public and showcases a variety of plant and animal life. And like the MVC, it immerses visitors in natural Florida as a family-friendly resource unique in West Central Florida.

“We’re proud to offer yet another opportunity for people to get close to the natural attributes that make our part of Florida so special,” said Leslie Clymer, environmental technician at the Manatee Viewing Center. “The trail is as much a place for learning as it is for relaxation. While signs identify many plants along the path, the beauty is that you might see something different each time to you walk it.”

The trail connects to the Florida Conservation and Technology Park to the south, a partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Aquarium.

“The coastal habitat trail is an important link between the MVC and the area where the conservation and technology park will rise,” said Stan Kroh, manager of Land & Water Programs with Environmental, Health & Safety. “It all ties into what will become a centerpiece of environmental stewardship that’s one of a kind in the Tampa Bay area.”

To get to the trail, go to the southwestern end of the MVC parking lot, across from the public entrance for vehicles. The trail is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 1 through April 15 annually.