Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve — a mouthful to say, a world to explore.
One of only three national reserves in Florida, the GTM Reserve encompasses nearly 74,000 acres of estuary and uplands, including the Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve — but that’s not all.Within the reserve boundaries lie two state parks, a state forest, a wildlife management area, three conservation areas and two county parks. About the only thing missing is a national park, but wait, there’s also one of those — Fort Matanzas National Monument.
Reserve visitors can enjoy nearly 17 miles of trails geared to walking, hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature viewing. The GTM Reserve offers six very different trails types to explore — the Ponte Vedra Beach location, which consists of five trails showcasing some of Florida’s most diverse landscapes and plant species, ranging from coastal saltmarshes, scrub and maritime hammocks to live oaks and pine flatwoods, and the Marineland trail that parallels the Atlantic Ocean and offers spectacular waterscapes.Just as diverse as the landscape is the wildlife that resides in or visits the reserve.