James E. Grey Preserve and Pithlachascotee River
In mid-June Telephoto Florida made a quick stop to check out the James E Grey Preserve in New Port Richey, just north of Tarpon Springs along Florida’s west coast. This small park is a bit difficult to find as it sits tucked within a residential subdivision along the Pithlachascotee “Cotee”River.
The 80 acre site offers a boardwalk, fishing pier and a couple miles of hiking trails (some wheel chair accessible) under canopy of cypress trees and through a hardwood hammock. There are restrooms, three pavilions, a large picnic area and canoe/kayak launch. In fact the park is at the end of a Florida Canoe Trail that runs from Frances Park 4.5 miles downriver. We could easily understand why the slow moving river would make a lovely canoe trip.
The GFBWT web site calls this site “an unexpected treasure in the middle of New Port Richey”. A treasure may be a bit strong, but certainly this park is worth a visit if in the area. The boardwalk offers a wonderfully scenic and relaxing view of the river.
We were greeted at the trail head by a gopher tortoise that scampered by oblivious to our presence. A little further along an orientation sign boasted that in the park one can see deer, gopher tortoise, manatee, wild boar and wild turkey. On this hot June day in the middle of the afternoon all we saw was a Downey woodpecker and a cardinal. We suspect, however, that the park’s claim of hosting over 140 species of birds is accurate. The rich vegetation could easily attract a plethora of birds during migration.
All in all, James E. Grey Preserve is a nice little oasis in the suburbs. There are numerous GFBWT sites in the area so one can easily make a day of visiting the area. We have made a mental note to come back in the fall and/or spring to see more of what this park can offer.