Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Medard Park

Wednesday March 14, 2012
Lithia Springs Park Site 23

This is a picture heavy post.  Don’t forget TMTO.  :-)


This afternoon we took a short drive to check out the campground at  another nearby park.



Edward Manard Reservoir

Edward Medard Park is about 15 miles away on the edge of Plant City where they grow fabulous strawberries.  If I’d known when we were at the grocery on Monday evening that we’d be here Wednesday, I’d have skipped buying strawberries and gotten them from a road side stand.  Not being terribly familiar with Florida’s growing season, I don’t know how much longer strawberries will be fresh but I do know from growing them myself that they don’t keep well.  So I refrain from buying more than I can eat in 3 or 4 days.  But Plant City is the place to come for strawberries and their strawberry festival which we missed while we were at Sebastian Inlet playing in the surf.


click to make it larger if you like


The Park encompasses 1,284 acres donated to the the Southwest Florida Water Management District by American Cyanamid Company after they had mined out the phosphate in the 1960’s.  (“Donated” for a big tax write off no doubt or perhaps so they wouldn’t have to clean up their mess).  Color me cynical!







beautiful cloud reflections

Still some of our most beautiful spots are industry leftovers which mother nature has been allowed to reclaim.  This is a lovely park whose main attraction is a 700-acre reservoir open for canoeing, boating and catch and release fishing.






we didn't go exploring these hillocks THIS time

Because it is located on what was once a phosphate mining site, the Park offers unique topography with elevation changes that have become very popular for children’s play.








Tri colored Shiloh

Shortly after we entered the park we stopped for a beagle ALERT! We parked at the very nice boat ramps

for boats of all types but trolling only

but before we looked them over we met Shiloh and her very shy owner.  I have owned beagles all my adult life.  BeagleS because I always owned them in pairs.  They are so lively and friendly and love to play.   They are so much happier in pairs so that’s how I always had them until the last one of the last pair died before we went on the road.  Thus, I always am on the ALERT for beagles and stop to get a fix whenever I see one.  We don’t have beagles on the road because it seems unfair to them.  They like to run and howl and are not as happy walking on a leash.  Too many parks restrict dogs on trails.   So for now, I enjoy every one else’s beagles.


From there we walked through the park  beginning with the boardwalk fishing pier leading to an observation tower across the reservoir on a small island.


Scenes from the boardwalk.


Who's stalking whom??

Moorhens were everywhere

On the way across the bridge we saw a Limpkin  in the water

On the way back, his twin was up on the railing

from the bridge above

what a face


this snakey cormorant was gone underwater in a flash





Not too high Bill.  

Scenes from the tower







boardwalk?  seems like a bridge to me


3 men in a tub


my favorite from today




looking back at the bridge



Scenes from the Island






my second favorite shot of the day


The wetlands all around were gorgeous and so full of music even in mid afternoon.  The marsh hens were talking, the herons, bull frogs and a host of others.  They were taking off, flying, landing. It was absolutely delightful.



Next we walked to the campground to get a look see.


This was the original reason for our visit.  There are 40 campsites to accommodate both RV and tent camping.  All campsites have a picnic table, electricity, a fire ring and water.  Public restrooms with showers and an RV dump station are also available.

Edward Manard Park 054 We felt there were several sites that could accommodate 34’ Winnona and we may well spend one of our two week treatment segments here since it is about as close to the doctor as Lithia.  I’m not sure about a 40’ and doubt that a 45’ RV would fit here.  As you can see the sites are wooded.  Some more level than others.  Some close together.  Some very close together..   The campground is at the far end of the park which means you either walk, drive or bike a bit to get to the boating, fishing and picnicking.  One thing I am leery of is that there is one group campsite right in the circle with the single camp sites in each loop.  I’m not sure how I’d feel about the noise that usually accompanies groups being so close to the single sites.  Especially sites mostly placed close together.    



Edward Manard Park 006

A very nice old wooden map that has been sadly left to deteriorate showed that there had been a swimming area but when we went over to see, there were no signs of it.   That’s a big disadvantage of being in this park any time after April I would think.




Edward Manard Park 057


Walking from one loop to the other in the campground we spied this Pileated Woodpecker who clearly had a nest in the hole above.






Tortoise?  Turtle?  Alert??


And on the way out of the campground a huge (gopher tortoise size) Florida Soft Shelled Turtle may have been covering up a hole in which she deposited some eggs in the sand by the side of the road.   They are usually very shy of humans and are one of the fastest turtles on land.  But she stayed in one spot nearly the entire time we were there.  Only stretched her neck out.  Then when we felt we must be disturbing her and turned to go, she too turned around and  threw some dirt over the shallow hole on which she had been sitting.   We didn’t stay to see if she left or returned.  But I thought she was fascinating.  Hope we didn’t upset her.

she had her eye on us

isn't she great?

some nose and lips

sloping shell


We ate our lunch at one of the many many picnic tables provided and were approached many times by this stand up beggar to no avail.  No treats

what's up doc??for him.  He jumped up on the table so we even took away the crumbs.

the beggar eating


The park also has very nice picnic shelters, a boardwalk, a playground, a beach volleyball court and an 18 hole disc golf course.   I had read this earlier and then totally forgot so we neglected to bring out discs with us.  Probably not a terrible thing since it was 87 degrees out and much of the course is in open fields.   Color that HOT.


As we left, we drove down the road indicated for Equine park goers.  There are great little pull offs for horse trailers with water and picnic tables.  I’d never seen anything like that before.

Did you know Florida is BIG horse country?


A 3-mile trail that is accessible (dry) most of the year offers equestrians and hikers a trip through pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks.   We stopped to let this group cross the road.







We thought we were just going to “drop by” and take a look but we spent a very pleasant entire late morning and all afternoon enjoying Edward Menard Park.   I would say that the campground was a bit  disappointing after such great facilities in all the other parts of the park.




End of a good day!



It’s clear somebody had a good time today!


  1. Wow, Sherry! You're fast on the way to wearing out your camera with the great pictures on this post. :c)

    How'd we ever survive the days of film cameras? (I've got a great collection of pictures of my thumb)

  2. anyone will have a good time with a cold IPA...

  3. Thanks for the park tour. We heard about this place but it's better to get your opinion.

  4. We have been to a number of parks/campgrounds that offer services for equestrian facilities, I think it is great.

    We bought 1kg of fresh strawberries in Mexico City for about 80 cents.

    Kevin and Ruth

  5. That was one ugly turtle that only a mother could love :(..Like the clouds in the pictures.

  6. Sounds and looks like you two had a great day!! We really appreciate all your park tours and reports. Sure saves us alot of time. Especially since we like the same type of camping places;o))

    Love the photo of the Limpkin on the fence and David with his 'FOK' approved beverage;o))

    Wow, you have got the blog up to date!! Don't think I will ever get there;o((

  7. Nice tour! Turtle eggs are too cool. We got to see some hatch in Mexico a few years back, and the lil ones made their way into the ocean.

    Glad to see David enjoying an IPA :)

  8. Very cool turtle pics! Isn't it nice when you can scope out campgrounds in advance of needing them? Enjoy your day!

  9. Great pictures- never heard of that park- thanks for the tour.

  10. Thanks for the thorough review! Disc golf, got this park on my list of places to possibly stay.. :-)

  11. Great park tour, Sherry. David looks like he's really enjoying himself in that last picture :)

  12. Great turtle encounter. Makes no sense for group camping to be near single camping sites; dynamics are so totally different. But since it doesn't look like we'd fit there anyway, we'll just plan a day trip to explore everything else the park offers.

  13. I enjoyed the beagle - boy did the shy owner have a shaggy head of hair! The turtle was neat too - great wetland shots and of dad doing what he does quite well indeed - eat and drink! :)

  14. Uncle Dave's an IPA drinker? That makes me want a beer right now.


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