Among the Trees
Spend an afternoon exploring nature and getting some exercise at Brunswick Nature Park.
The sign at the front entrance of Brunswick Nature Park gives pause, as it clearly warns us about the possibility of dangerous animals in the park. A snake and an alligator are pictured on the sign to drive this point home to visitors before exploring the 911-acre preserve.
But my apprehension quickly melts away as we slowly drive farther into the preserve and find the sweet smell of dogwood trees in bloom, colorful birds of all varieties welcoming us with song and hiking trails that are well marked and abounding with spring vegetation.
We park at the center of the nature preserve and begin walking south toward the water. Flowering trees line the narrow road, and after a short walk we end up at the kayak launch on Town Creek. Kayaks and canoes can be launched from this point. Town Creek, traveling to the east, connects to the Cape Fear River.
The kayak launch is a picturesque area to snap some photographs, with dramatic trees and still waters painting a beautiful scene. We also enjoy a multitude of butterflies that are busy visiting flowering plants of all types along the shoreline.
We find the entrance of two hiking trails near the kayak launch, one to the east appropriately marked as Dogwood Trail, and one to the west titled Live Oak Trail. We begin our adventure on Live Oak Trail and are impressed with the massive oak, pine and magnolia trees stretching to the sky and the joyful birds rejoicing from the branches above. There are miles of hiking trails at the park.
During our hike we find common and unfamiliar plants growing on and around the blossoming trees close to the well-beaten path we’re on. The trails are well maintained and easy to follow. Nesting birds make their presence known and are a sure sign that spring has arrived.
After hiking a few miles and taking several photographs, we make our way back to the parking area and venture across the main road, where we locate the 40×40 foot picnic pavilion.
It is spacious with picnic tables and trash cans provided. An adjacent area has a large grill for preparing food. Park-goers are required to reserve the pavilion in advance.
In the woods surrounding the pavilion, we discover a few entrances to marked bike paths, like Canebrake, that travel out through miles of undeveloped wilderness at the park. Bike paths allow visitors to travel farther and faster than hikers. Some of these paths intersect with other trails, so hikers and bikers, along with drivers on the main access road, should be on the lookout for each other.
While we find the nature preserve to be full of life and especially scenic, we do not encounter any snakes or alligators. I must say, I am happy about that. But, as the sign at the entrance states, visitors should be aware of their surroundings at all times, as you may encounter wild animals.
In addition to the Brunswick Nature Park, Brunswick County Parks and Recreational Department operates 11 other parks in the county. Most of these are community parks with baseball or softball fields, playground areas for children and shelters for family gatherings. See the fill list here: Facilities (recdesk.com)
Want to go?
Brunswick Nature Park
2601 River Road SE, Winnabow
The park is approximately 10 miles from Leland and is open daily from 8 am to dusk.
To reserve the pavilion, reservations can be made online at Reserve (recdesk.com).
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