Walktography sig

LARGO — On a crisp and cool afternoon Jan. 25, dozens of visitors — including the four-legged kind — enjoyed the amenities of Eagle Lake Park, which opened nearly 10 years go.

Located in the heart of Pinellas County at 1800 Keene Road, the park’s natural beauty, wildlife and trails get heavy use and repeat visitors, such as Amy Bartles of Clearwater.

“It's a gorgeous park; we love it. We come here often as we can,” Bartles said. "We like everything about it, but specifically, I'd say the trails. It just always quiet and family-oriented."

She was with her sister, daughter and miniature goldendoodle, relaxing off one of the trails as a variety of park users passed by, including bicyclists, roller bladders, and walkers.

Many visitors that day enjoyed sports activities in the fields or picnics at the shelters. Others on an observation deck watched turtles and birds. Nearby, dogs romped with their owners.

According to information on the Pinellas County website, the park has six picnic shelters, three restrooms, a playground, dog park, a paved 12-foot-wide recreation trail, numerous shell paths and 2,000 feet of boardwalks over restored wetlands. Catch-and-release fishing is allowed in designated areas.

The park is teeming with oaks and palmetto. The wetlands section on the western side of the park has been restored with native plants. Fox squirrels, numerous bird species, gopher tortoises and water turtles make their home in the 163-acre park, which originally belonged to the Taylor family. The Taylors used the property for cattle grazing and as a citrus grove. Comprised of two parcels the county purchased in 1998 and 2006, the park opened in March 2010.

Visit www.pinellascounty.org/park/24_Eagle_Lake.htm

Tom Germond, who recently retired as Tampa Bay Newspapers' executive editor, coined the term “walktography” for his hobby of hiking local parks and shooting nature photographs. His work will appear periodically in TBN publications.