By Sara Battaglia
During my time, as Miss Riverview USA, I’d like to feature the things I love most about my community. Riverview and its surrounding areas are constantly growing, and we often forget about the small businesses, nonprofits and little hidden treasures.
One of my favorite places to take my energetic pups is the Alafia Scrub Preserve Park. Located at 10243 Elbow Bend Rd. in Riverview, it is quiet, a flat trail and the perfect place to get out, enjoy nature and take the dogs. The preserve is 80 acres and includes walking trails, a scenic overlook of the Alafia River and so much wildlife to see. There is also a 0.8-mile loop and a 1.3-mile loop.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset. Dogs are allowed on leash and there is a table for enjoying a picnic if you’d like. Make sure to bring water, wear sunscreen, wear closed-toed shoes and stay on marked trails. Maps can also be printed or viewed online to follow along the trail. Because the trail is flat, it makes for an easier hike and good for all ages.
According to the county website, Alafia Scrub Nature Preserve was purchased by Hillsborough County through the Jan K. Platt Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program (ELAPP) in 1998. ELAPP is a voluntary program established for the purpose of providing the process and funding for identifying, acquiring, preserving and protecting endangered, environmentally sensitive and significant lands in Hillsborough County. It is a citizen-based program with volunteer committees involved in every key aspect of the program.
In addition to Alafia Scrub Preserve Park, Hillsborough County has many scrub and nature preserves, a total of 63,000 acres, through the ELAPP program. These preserves improve air quality, provide flood protection and naturally filter water. They also provide hiking trails, horseback and biking trails, canoeing/kayaking, bird watching, fishing, playgrounds and more.
Most of the parks have a $2 parking fee. Trails vary in size and difficulty. A full map of the 28 preserves can be found at www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/residents/recreation-and-culture/parks. With the weather cooling down, now is a great time to get outside and enjoy nature.
For more information on the Alafia Scrub Preserve Park or a preserve map, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/locations/alafia-scrub-nature-preserve.