The Carlton Reserve is currently OPEN, as of March 23, 2020

Check here to view changes in response to COVID 19 virus:



Spotted this week, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes

Mating and spring time--ride and tread carefully.

Photos by Sherm Stratton ad Dave Schaefer




Who's watching whom in the woods?

This sequence of trail camera pictures was captured

by Debbie Blanco in the Carlton Reserve

What's Blooming in the Carlton Today?

photos by Art Smith

see more of Art's wildflowers HERE



Florida Forever funds approved for purchase of 5700+ acre site in Sarasota County to be managed by the Florida Wildlife Commission.


 Located near the Longino Ranch  and Griffin Preserve, Orange Hammock will further protect wildlife habitat and water quality for the Myakka River and Peace River Regional Water Authority. Additional funding pledged by Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast



Fire Fest 2020 Slideshow

YouTube Music Video--click here

Carlton Reserve

Photos by Jean-Louis Dumaine


click photo to pause or expand to full screen



Young bobcats napping. Pretending to be tigers? (note trail name)


Photo by Debbie Blanco


(click to enlarge)




In the Carlton Reserve Today
Photo by Art Smith


Bald eagles develop a white head and tail when they reach breeding age at 4-5 years.


Happy Holidays from Friends of the Carlton Reserve


Trail camera team: Donna Day, Ernie Winn, Martin Siesta with a little help from other Friends of the Carlton Reserve


Click on picture or here for video


In the Carlton Reserve today

Photo by Jim Cranston

"You are here" 

Visitors to the Carlton Reserve have 6 new  maps to assist them at remote locations,  thanks to the efforts of Art Smith, Russ Johnson, Debbie Blanco and the the Friends of the Carlton. 

More Info

Swallow Tail Kite Update Sept. 27, 2019

"Sarasota" the swallow tail kite has made his way to Nicaragua

for more information and map, click here

"Sarasota" (AKA swallow tail kite) is headed south for the season again.

Gina Kent,ARCI(Avian Research and Conservation Institute):

"We've been watching "Sarasota" through the breading season where he successfully nested.  He spent all his pre-migratory preparation time right on the TM Carlton Reserve quite close to his nesting area.  He's just started to move south on 6 August.  I would bet he'll cross the Gulf of Mexico any day (if he's not already over the water by the time I write this).

Carlton Reserve Update


1. Volunteers in the Save Our Native Florida Bromeliads Program relocated a fourth cage in which to sequester select plants to protect them from an invasive Mexican weevil until they can produce seeds.


2. Ten wildlife monitoring trail cameras remain in service 24/7. Since 2001, over 14,000 images of animals have been entered into a database. Click here to view gallery


3. Sarasota, the name given to a swallow tail kite from the Carlton, was outfitted with a satellite tracking device and departed for Brazil in August and returned to the Reserve in March.  


4. New YOU ARE HERE maps are being readied to assist bikers, hikers and riders. They will be located at key locations as soon as conditions permit placement.


5. Volunteers and Friends who contributed during the Patterson Giving Challenge earned the Friends of the Carlton an extra $675. 

New Carlton Reserve history pages:

Turpentine and Windy Sawgrass 



Have you seen trees marked like this in the Carlton Reserve?



New photo gallery on turpentine and pine tar production: part of the Carlton Reserve's history.


Click here 

Surviving Fire: in Florida Scrub

16 min. film from Archbold Biological Research Station


Who knew?

The lowly palmetto (serenoa repens) may be as much as 10,000 years old!


Click here to read Florida Native Plant Society "Palmettos" issue 

Black Skimmers of Lido Beach

Latest and last of Darryl Saffer's Florida Field Journal films for the Education channel.

A Place To Call Home: Carlton Reserve

Debbie Blanco, Steve Christian, Randy Hurley

interviewed on WWSB Ch. 7,  June 12, 2017

See what's coming to a park near you soon. Preview of coming attractions:

Sarasota County Parks Master Plan (download)

Debbie Blanco interview at Carlton Reserve cabin on WTSP:

Female Panther & kittens sighted north of Caloosahatchee River


Click Bike Venice Florida for great regional biking information!


T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve, protects Sarasota County's water supply and habitat for wildlife. It does not permit pets. Pets are permitted elsewhere on leash in 71 parklands and off leash in 5 others. Click Here for list.

The FWC believes a female panther has crossed the Caloosahatchee River, the first in more than 40 years--great news for the long term prospects for the endangered animal's survival.

Read more here

See more photos here

Need a Wilderness Break?--check out Darryl Saffer's new Field Journal episode: Wyoming Wild

E.O. Wilson explains why parks and nature are really good for your brain: Washington Post

So when the Washington Post asked Wilson what he thought about the mechanism by which these environments relax, rejuvenate and restore people. His answer was simple but pretty sweeping at the same time.

“Instinctively, without understanding what’s happening, they know that in certain wild environments, they have come home.” 

The images below were captured by a trail camera before, during and after a prescribed burn to reduce fire load--note the immediate return of wildlife. 

Click here for latest additions to 

The Florida Field Journal

by Darryl Saffer

Carlton Reserve Featured in Sun Gondolier June 2016. Article by Beth Donofrio. 

Go to News Page

Darryl Saffer video news:

The Evil Weevil part 3 now airing on the Education Channel, You Tube

Wildlife Photography: second in a web series  on You Tube.

Notebook sketch of Oscar Scherer State Park: Florida Field Journal

"Not Long Ago," a FL Field Journal video is being screened Feb. 14, 2016 in Gainesville:    Cinema Verde Environmental Film Festival: schedule



Saving the Giant Air Plant 

Bromeliad Weevil Report to Florida Council of Bromeliad Society

by Dr. Teresa Cooper, UF Entomologist 

February 2016 more info






Darryl Saffer has given voice to one of our own-- Grandmother Oak located in the Carlton Reserve



Darryl Saffer video essay on MRSP

 Not Long Ago



Guess who turned up for the first time (confirmed) in the history of the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve ? CLICK HERE

Dr. Mary Jelks on Myakka River State Park

oral history project   Slideshow


 Groups move to protect state parks  

Petition: PARKS IN PERIL            video:Payne's Prairie    


Evil, The Weevil! part 2 

Mexican invasive insect threatens bromeliads

see Darryl Saffer's latest FL Field Journal filmed in the Carlton Reserve

Starring Donna Day, Dr. Theresa Cooper and Mike Owen,  click here


Photo by Darryl Saffer: Hummingbird Clearwing


You never know what's waiting for you in the forest. . .Check this out


Carlton Reserve featured in Harbor Style magazine: Seeking Serenity p. 78-88

 (Excellent article overall but here are some corrections/clarifications)


Need a natural escape vacation? check out Florida's Coastal Dune Lakes


Teaching Cats To Dog Paddle? or Crossing the Caloosahatchee 


Drone "Overview" of Piggy's Revenge Biking Event 2015


Debbie Blanco on recent panther sighting in Carlton--TV 10 news


Caught on camera in Carlton Reserve Dec. 2001 Track cast on display in visitor's cabin
Caught on camera in Carlton Reserve Dec. 2001 Track cast on display in visitor's cabin
Carlton Feb. 2010, View footprint in visitor's cabin
Carlton Feb. 2010, View footprint in visitor's cabin

     We are a 501(C)3 community support organization whose mission is to support the parks and natural lands of Sarasota County, Florida.

      With 24,565 acres  on the state protected "wild and scenic" Myakka River, the Carlton Reserve has over 90 miles of trails and nearly 40 square miles for wilderness recreation:



  • hiking
  • biking
  • paddling
  • horseback riding
  • reserved camping on a limited basis at designated sites.

The Carlton Reserve is wilderness habitat/environmentally sensitive land:  

No pets     No hunting 

Ordinances, Resolutions and State Laws Protecting the Carlton


Economic Benefits of Wilderness: US Fish&Wildlife Service

     $4.87 economic benefit for each tax dollar spent on wilderness Click here 

     75% from passive recreation: hiking, biking, picnicking Click here

Global Forest Change Map: zoom in to view Florida and Carlton

Threatened Native Bromeliad Found in Carlton Reserve Picture here

Friends of the Carlton receive Microsoft grant Click here


Guide and Maps of Invasive Species  Click here.



Florida Field Journal: Crowley Museum and Nature Center: video

Florida Field Journal: Selby Gardens 1, by Darryl Saffer video

FL Field Journal: Fire and Flood, Myakka RSP by Darryl Saffer video

Recommended streaming video: Great Plains Episode 1   Episode 2

Monitor Poaching in Africa, Sri Lanka on iPhone:Instant Wild

Photo of the Month: Stewards of the Land, the Next Generation

Leucistic Buck caught on cameras in Carlton over 5 years: click here

Sierra Club lawsuit to protect panther habitat from Off Road Vehicles

Nature Conservancy Buys Critical Panther Corridor: Click here.

Florida Field Journal: Baby Birds, Save Our Seabirds,by Darryl Saffer:video

Florida Field Journal: Celery Fields-Jeanne Dubi: by Darryl Saffer:video

Gators Gather at Deep Hole: video

Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 17, 2013. View here

Cornell Ornithology Lab Project Preview: BIRDS OF PARADISE

World Heritage Sites   360˚ aerial views



PantherTalk and Natural Lands

Panther Breeding Territory Expanding Northward? Herald Tribune, Oct.12

Panthers May be Moving North St. Pete Times Jan.04

Panther Habitat Facts Tampa Tribune

Panther Habitat Protection in Florida Sierra Club

Lawsuit Over Panther Habitat Protection Sierra Club

 Friends of the Fakahatchee Trail Camera Gallery

The Wanderer, Panther No. 62 Craig Pittman

Paving Paradise Craig Pittman


Use top bar to navigate this site.



Information & Website


Park Naturalist:

Debbie Blanco



1. Type in your location,

2. Click map marker

3. Click calculate

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Sarasota County

Field Guide

to Conservation Lands

(download 64pp. PDF)

Field Guide.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 3.8 MB

Counter set 03/24/2015

Friends of the Carlton

is a chapter of  FOSCP   

not for profit corp.