Barrier-Free Nature Trail at Fort De Soto Park

Fort De Soto Park is home to a Barrier-Free Nature Trail that welcomes all to come enjoy nature and the outdoors regardless of physical challenges.

Experiencing the outdoors and being surrounded by nature is great therapy for the body and soul. In Florida, there are 1.2 million physically-challenged people. With this in mind, the Friends of Fort De Soto Inc. decided, in 1997, to develop an interpretive nature trail that all visitors to the park could enjoy regardless of their physical capabilities. The idea was to create a self-guided interpretive program along the trail so visitors could use all their senses – touch, smell, sight and sound – to fully enjoy the experience.

Fort De Soto Park staff and Sawgrass Lake Park naturalists worked together to design the trail to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The Boy Scouts and other volunteer groups then built the 2,200-foot-long trail using recycled materials.

Raised timbers are placed 8 feet apart for guidance and to allow enough space for wheelchairs to pass side-by-side. Concrete strips alert visitors to the interpretive stations or rest areas. Interpretive stations have signs and touch-activated speakers to provide information about the trail. Rest areas have benches and water fountains.

The Barrier-Free Nature Trail opens the natural world for all visitors to enjoy. The Friends of Fort De Soto Inc. and the many dedicated volunteers involved in this project hope you enjoy the trail and visit often.

Friends of Fort De Soto Inc. Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide community support for the preservation and improvement of Fort De Soto Park through financial contributions as well as volunteer efforts. Our focus is to promote public awareness of Fort De Soto Park, its special environment and facilities and, through improved communication and special projects, to bring awareness of the need for historical and environmental preservation and conservation.

The Friends of Fort De Soto Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to Friends of Fort De Soto are tax deductible to the extent allowed under current tax laws.

Friends of Fort De Soto Inc.
3500 Pinellas Bayway
Tierra Verde, FL 33715-2528
Phone (727) 582-2267

Fort De Soto Park is operated as a public service by the Board of County Commissioners with the help of the Pinellas County Park Board. It is maintained and operated by the Pinellas County Parks & Conservation Resources department. More than 2.6 million people visit Fort De Soto annually. Work continues to improve access to all park facilities. This trail, as well as other facilities, accommodates most visitors. If you require special assistance or accommodation, please notify a staff member in the park headquarters building.

For information about Fort De Soto Park or Friends of Fort De Soto membership, please call (727) 582-2267.

Pinellas County Parks & Conservation Resources
12520 Ulmerton Road
Largo, FL 33774
Phone (727) 582-2100

Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. To obtain accessible formats of this document, please contact the Communications Department at {727) 464-4600/TDD (727) 464-4431. Produced in Cooperation with the Pinellas County Communications Department.