Big Lagoon State Park
|Big Lagoon State Park|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
|Location||Escambia County, Florida, USA|
|Nearest city||Pensacola, Florida|
|Governing body||Florida Department of Environmental Protection|
First acquired in 1977, Big Lagoon State Park is a 705-acre (2.85 km2) Florida State Park located on the northwestern Florida coast, approximately 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Pensacola on Gulf Beach Highway. It encompasses the northern boundary of Big Lagoon as it snakes toward Pensacola Bay to the east. Wild Grande Lagoon and its minor tributaries lay within the boundaries of the park, as does the alligator-inhabited Long Pond, a man-made freshwater pond.
The park is a 'gateway site' for the Great Florida Birding Trail. It features nine distinct natural communities including estuarine tidal marsh, mesic flatwoods, wet flatwoods, and is dominated by scrubby flatwoods. The park features a number of threatened and endangered species such as the Large-leaved Jointweed, Gopher Tortoise, migratory shorebirds such as Snowy Plover, Least Tern among some twenty other listed species.
The park has such amenities as beaches along the shoreline of Big Lagoon, bicycling down the 2.6-mile (4.2 km) park drive, boating from a boat ramp on the Intracoastal Waterway, canoeing along Big Lagoon, fishing, hiking along 4 miles (6.4 km) of trails, kayaking in Grande Lagoon, wildlife viewing from a four story observation tower and footbridge overlooks at Long Pond and Grande Lagoon, picnicking at 17 shelters, swimming in Big Lagoon and 75 electrified camping sites and a group camp.
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