This site contains the headwaters of the Manatee River and is the largest preserve in Manatee County’s land preservation program. The preserve protects pine flatwoods, oak scrub, hardwood swamp, depression marsh and dry prairie habitats, plus ponds, streams, sloughs and Clearwater Lake, too. Florida Scrub-Jays can be found on site as well as several other sought after species such as Bachman’s Sparrow, Hairy Woodpecker, and Loggerhead Shrike. This vast area is fun to explore, but sugar sand on some stretches of road makes 4WD/AWD helpful, so be cautious. Open areas and prairie patches are good foraging grounds for American Kestrel, and Eastern Meadowlark. The preserve is closed on certain days/weekends each year for hunting; please click here for details. Annual pass holders can call ahead and get the main entrance gate combination to drive in on selected days. Otherwise, drive-in access is limited to three hours on Saturdays from the hunter check-in station on Rawls Rd.