Leaving the lighthouse museum and heading back north, I have one more thing to mention. You will notice a range light or secondary lighthouse along the beach on Gasparilla Island. On the same side of the road and just to the south of it, is one of the few undeveloped stretches of brush on the island.
The state wanted to add this property to the park, but the federal government wants a tight hold onto it. Apparently the Dept of Homeland Security thinks that it is a necessary buffer to protect the country in case the towelheads use this as their beach-head to invade America. While the range light sits here as a silent sentinel. (Okay, I have to laugh at myself.)
I feel much safer already!
Moving west and north once off the Island, I make a quick stop at Don Pedro Island.
This area of a few hundred acres and a barrier island looks like a pristine coast scrub area that goes down into a salt marsh. I was impressed to see the leather ferns, which I am accustomed to seeing them in my park, but more as a hammock plant and not in the salt marsh.
And right along side some black mangrove trees.
One of my highlights here was this great blue heron who apparently thinks this dock belongs to him. (He didn't seem interested in what the fisherman had.)
The next stop was Stump Pass Beach on the southern end of Manasota Key. Going through the town, you have to circle around this impressive sculpture.
The rich condos give way to the older Florida beach homes, until the road dead-ends into the parking area of this small beach park. Due to the erosion that can cause havok to a barrier island, it is undergoing some very impressive beach renourishment. Here an area has been replanted with beach grass or sea oats that will stabilize the dunes.
Back on the road and heading north again on highway 41, I noticed a small sign that said "Indian Mound park." Not one to pass up a good mound, I followed it to this small county park in Englewood.
The park is mainly taken over by the boaters and fishermen, who don't seem to pay much attention to the very large mound that his hidden in the trees beyond the picnic pavillions.
Next time: Ybor City Museum, Tampa, Fort Brooke, and Seminole War sites.