Circle B Bar Reserve

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Circle B Bar Reserve
The entrance to the Circle Bar B Reserve from the Fort Fraser-Circle Bar B connector trail.png
Entrance to the Circle B Bar Reserve from the Fort Fraser-Circle B Bar connector trail.
Map showing the location of Circle B Bar Reserve
Map showing the location of Circle B Bar Reserve
Location within Florida
LocationPolk County, Florida
Nearest cityLakeland
Coordinates27°59′24″N 81°52′00″W / 27.9899°N 81.8668°W / 27.9899; -81.8668Coordinates: 27°59′24″N 81°52′00″W / 27.9899°N 81.8668°W / 27.9899; -81.8668
Area1,267 acres (5.13 km2)

The Circle B Bar Reserve is an area of protected lands in Polk County, Florida. Comprising 1,267 acres (5.13 km2) at 4399 Winter Lake Road (SR 540) near Lakeland, Florida, the area is managed by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). It is jointly owned by the BOCC and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.[1] The park was purchased in 2000 for $7.4 million using funds provided by an environmental lands acquisition referendum approved by voters in 1994.[2]

Polk's Nature Discovery Center, completed in 2008, features interactive displays about the plants, animals, and ecosystems of the reserve. The center serves as the focus of environmental education programs and explorations for families, school groups, teachers, adults, and other visitors. Construction began in 2007, consisting of four buildings totalling 16,000 square feet at a cost of $6.4 million.[3]

Circle B Bar Reserve is named after the cattle ranch that once occupied the site. It was purchased to help maintain the Banana Creek marsh area. The preserve is home to an impressive array of birds such as white ibis, roseate spoonbills, sandhill cranes, and bald eagles along with other wildlife like alligators, bobcats, snakes, gray squirrels, river otters, and wild hogs. It underwent a wetland restoration effort.[4]

The preserve has been designated as a Great Florida Birding Trail site, a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Sites are selected for their excellent birdwatching, wildlife viewing, or educational opportunities. Circle B Bar contains 3.5 miles (5.6 km)s of unpaved hiking/biking trails[5] and is connected to the paved Fort Fraser Trail by the 0.6-mile paved Fort Fraser-Circle Bar B Connector Trail, which runs from Lakeland to Bartow.[6]


  1. ^ "District Joins in the Grand Opening of Polk's Nature Discovery Center". Southwest Florida Water Management District. November–December 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  2. ^ Palmer, Tom (10 March 2007). "Ground Is Broken for New Nature Discovery Center". The Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  3. ^ Palmer, Tom (10 March 2007). "Ground Is Broken for New Nature Discovery Center". The Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  4. ^ Circle B Bar Reserve Southwest Florida Water Management District
  5. ^ "Circle B Bar Reserve". Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  6. ^ Palmer, Tom. "Hikers and Bikers Can Choose Among Paved, Unpaved Trails". Retrieved 4 April 2016.

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