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Oscar Scherer is located in Osprey on the Tamiami Trail.
This is one of the most natural State Parks in Florida. This was once a ranch owned by Oscar Scherer whose main claim to fame was that he devised a way of dyeing leather for the shoe trade. He was born in 1856.
His daughter Elsa Scherer Burrows donated the ranch to the State in 1985 and one year later the State had it ready for visitors. It was named in honour of her father and the 460 acres were much enjoyed by its visitors who loved the outdoor pursuites.
In 1992 a further 922 adjacent acres were acquired by the Parks department and added to the park to protect the scrub jay community.
130 visitors come to this park every year to enjoy what is now two square miles of the old Florida.
In this park are two distinct communities; scrub flatwoods and pine flatwoods (otherwise known as Florida desert) It is most known for the scrub jays which are becoming less common in Florida. Also to be seen are otters bob cats and bald eagles. Among the threatened species are gopher tortoises and gopher frogs. The importance of the Sate Department at protecting these species cannot be over stated.
This area was once important in the turps industry and you can still see the evidence of this in the cat face slashes on the pine trees. These were made in order to funnel the turps into a vessel tied under the slashes. Amazingly this intervention does not harm the trees at all.
There are several trails that together form 15 miles of walking or cycling. This is a good way to explore this park.
Alternatively you can hire a canoe from a ranger and this will cost around $25 a day (or can be done by the hour) Enter by way of South Creek which has a launch point near to the picnic area. South Creek is a black water stream that tips eventually into the gulf coast.
South Creek is formed from a mix of salt water and fresh water and along its banks are cabbage ferns and giant leather ferns. On wednesdays you can join ranger led paddles which is obviously a good idea.
Fishing is great here; both fresh water and sea water You may catch blue gill, catfish and bream.
Oscar Scherer State Park
1843 S. Tamiami Trail
Osprey, Florida 34229
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