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We invite you to virtually experience a few of the most unique and precious natural areas within Sarasota County. Begin exploring by clicking on the story map screenshot/image below, which will open an interactive map/application in a new browser tab. Once in the "Virtual Experience," it's a simple process to explore. You will be able to:

  • Take a virtual guided interpretive hike along a trail in each park or preserve.
  • Learn more about the plants, animals, and habitats found at each park or preserve.
  • View photos taken along the trail.
  • Find additional information and resources about Sarasota County’s natural areas under the "Bonus Content" section.

Access the story map on your mobile device to use while you’re on site, or explore virtually from anywhere you are. Fall in love with a Sarasota County natural area!

  1. From the home screen, click on a preserve to select an area to explore.
  2. In that preserve experience, to hike the trail (shown as a red line in the map):
    1. Click on a yellow trail marker on the map (blue markers indicate points of interest off the trail);
    2. OR, highlight a trail marker from the list on the right side of the screen and select the “More information” button;
    3. Arrows to the side of a photo indicate multiple photos for that trail marker; click on arrows to view.
  3. Continue through the entire trail until you've seen all points of interest.
  4. When done, click on the home icon in the upper-right of the screen to return and choose another area park or preserve to experience. Or, click on the "Bonus Content" section on the bottom of the home screen to find maps, species lists, activities, and more resources.

We hope you can also enjoy these beautiful natural areas in person, as spending time in nature provides multiple physical and emotional health benefits for youth and adults.

The Natural Areas Story Map was developed as a partnership of UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County; Sarasota County Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources; and Sarasota County EIT-GIS. Photos courtesy of Katherine Clements, Jeff Weber, Nathalie Smith, Zahir Ringgold Cordes,Wilma Holley, and Sarasota County History Center.

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