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Plant City's McIntosh Preserve helps recharge aquifer

McIntosh Preserve
Posted at 5:04 AM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 10:20:50-04

PLANT CITY, Fla.  — McIntosh Preserve is one of the newest additions to Plant City's list of parks and recreation.

The preserve stretches more than 300 acres with more than two miles of walking trails and a beautiful observation tower with a pristine view.

Walking Club: Exploring Plant City’s McIntosh Preserve

But this preserve is more than meets the eyes. The main function here is water reclamation.

"We pull our water right out of here in Plant City and supply it to our residents. So we're recharging that so we don't run out one day. So that's very important," Chris Foster, Environmental Land Manager at McIntosh Preserve said. "You know, otherwise, we're also you know, going to be using this site for environmental education. We're going to use it for prescribed burns. And just you know, teaching people about nature, getting families and kids out here so that they can experience nature and learn more about why it is important to preserve it."

It's an important function for the city and its residents.

"Over on the east side, we have that canal that runs out of Plant City, and that pulls a lot of our stormwater out of the city. That way, we're not flooding streets and houses and things in there," Foster explained. "And then it runs on up into the watershed down to Hillsborough River and up to Tampa Bay. So over here, we're adding those wetlands to collect that water, we're going to increase our water capacity, we're going to hold it, we're gonna allow it to recharge our aquifer, it's gonna soak into the ground filter itself. And that's kind of the function that we're going to have there."

Some brand new educational signs will be going up at the preserve, too. They will help guests be able to identify where they are and what they see with a scavenger hunt. The city just completed an orienteering course that helps people navigate a map and complete the course through an app.

In fact, they're also going to be building a 40-50 foot mountain for people here in Plant City, just so you can take in the beautiful views.

Remember though as you're visiting this growing preserve, it can get hot. Get here early, and pack lots of water and sunscreen.