What is Fern Trail?
Fern is an especially unique quarter-mile trail in Hammock Park. It connects Palm and Skinner Trails in a rough north-south direction.Named for the dominate growth of native gigantic leather ferns and sword ferns found here, it is naturally a wet/moist area, especially so during the rainy season (June – September). It is allowed to flood today because drainage measures taken during the development of the 1970’s had caused Hammock Park to suffer hydration loss. A high water table is necessary to nurture and maintain its natural wetlands (Hydric & Mesic areas) surrounding the actual hammock where native ferns were abundant. This includes Fern Trail, which runs smack through a hydric area.
Rehydration efforts undertaken in recent years have been successful, and now Fern Trail is often flooded and too wet for pedestrian traffic. In 2014 it was determined by The Friends of the Hammock, The Hammock Park Advisory Committee and the City of Dunedin that the trail needed to be closed to the public. Pedestrian traffic around the wet spots trail are causing irreparable damage to the habitat. In addition some uneducated visitors have decided this is a great location for mud biking and other mudding vehicular activity. The degradation is becoming severe.
Fern has been a public favorite and vital connector trail for decades. The City of Dunedin and the Friends of the Hammock want to restore public access to this unique habitat area, especially now as it is restored to its native condition. In order to do that the entire quarter mile needs to have a boardwalk installed. The proposed expense for re-opening an improved Fern Trail is $50,000.00.
Unfortunately the City of Dunedin cannot even begin to expense this item until the 2017 budget. And even then the entire expense most likely cannot be funded by the City.
You can help the restoration effort of Fern Trail — truly one of our most beautiful trails.
Fern Trail is flooded for a majority of the year, and a raised boardwalk to protect the terrain and create safe passage for visitors is needed. The Friends of the Hammock is determined to see this trail opened sooner than later! In order to do so, The Friends has established this fundraising plan to raise $50,000 for Fern to help the City of Dunedin. Your tax deductible donation of $50.00 will go a long way towards the project to reopen Fern Trail so that its special exhibit of wetland flora can be preserved and enjoyed by all for the enjoyment of future generations.