Volunteers  painting entrance/exit road posts and  finishing painting public area totems

End of 2023-24 Season Update

Volunteer Activities 

  1. Raked and cleared public area to prepare for annual Cub Crawl
  2. Deployed permanent signs for CubCrawl (donated by FCR)
  3. Helped publicize, setup, conduct, dismantle and store Cub Crawl obstacle course
  4. Repainted restrooms
  5. Cleaned and repainted yellow gates (ongoing)
  6. Cleaned signs: entrance, interpretive, kiosks, etc.
  7. Repainted PUF totem arrows 
  8. Lubricated locks in public area, reported locks being tampered with to staff and LE
  9. Greeted and assisted campers
  10. Assisted with gate locks for special events
  11. Marked access points along river for law enforcement and staff
  12. Monitored undesignated campsites and fossiling sites on river
  13. Assisted law enforcement by documenting and relocating poached rescued endangered bromeliads
  14. Organized a program on Prescribed Fire: Jay Bailey
  15. Organized a program on Wild and Scenic River : Chris Oliver
  16. Organized program on alligators: FWC Officer Andy Polaszek
  17. Renovated kiosk in front of cabin, renovated a 2nd time using 6 County panels 
  18. Posted notices in kiosks: cabin, parking, Boldly Go, and Sleeping Turtles
  19. Picked up trash at kayak launch and along Border Road
  20. Repainted white posts on exit/entrance roads and parking lot (ongoing)
  21. Repaired and cleaned metal interpretive signs
  22. Serviced entry signs: added fill to support posts, repainted, cleaned (ongoing)
  23. Moved  60+ blocks  for shed entry
  24. Added lockable storage to shed 
  25. Added flammable paint storage container to shed
  26. Added storage shelves to shed (ongoing)
  27. Sorted and created storage bins for FireFest and other County signage
  28. Assisted at FireFest with counting, setup, takedown and parking
  29. Recruited, coordinated  and publicized guided electric bike rides
  30. Recruited, coordinated  and publicized guided family bike rides
  31. Recruited, coordinated  and publicized guided birding/photography hikes in Carlton
  32. Recruited, coordinated  and publicized guided birding/photography hikes in Sleeping Turtles - North
  33. Recruited, coordinated and publicized guided hikes in Carlton
  34. Trimmed and tossed vegetation from PUF area, including all color trails (removed as much fire load as possible via Kubota)
  35. GPS located stumps in trail for removal by staff (estimated 40 locations)
  36. GPS located and reported invasive plants: cogon, pepper, melaleuca, lygodium: 106 locations
  37. Weedwhacked and GPSed all accessible well monitoring sites (est 30-50)
  38. Weedwhacked and GPSed all accessible Carlton trail markers, totems, walk-thrus, gates, signs, benches, tables, (est. 150)
  39. Repainted all named trail signs (white)
  40. Archived  (photo and spreadsheet) all trail and well monitor locations: dates of clearing, repainting
  41. Manned visitor cabin (log attached) to provide information and water (8-10 cases donated by FCR)
  42. Cleared cabin AC fence and restroom perimeters
  43. Cleaned off Windy Sawgrass roofs and cleared around buildings to remove fireload 
  44. Deployed and serviced 6 trail cameras and publicized select photos on social media 
  45. Maintained two websites: www.carltonreserve.org and FCR FaceBook page
  46. Presented a tribute event for retiring staff(4), FCR paid for and presented glass framed photos
  47. Produced multiple videos and posted on YouTube (FireFest, CubCrawl, Keepers of the Land, Retirement Tribute, Trail Camera and Wildflower Collections, etc.)
  48. Recruited, interviewed and trained multiple new volunteers
  49. Continued to rescue endangered bromeliads and spread seeds to repopulate the Carlton, Deer Prairie and other natural lands
  50. Assisted SCSO and EMTs with gate access and trail information in a heart attack incident
  51. Assisted lost hikers and bicyclists plus bicyclist with equipment failure.
  52. Captured and released over 50 mice from the cabin
  53. Notified staff of downed trees blocking trails with GPS coordinates  
  54. Assisted, coordinated with land manager, and documented work by Carlton volunteer who cleared all 99 markers in Deer Prairie Creek Preserve 
  55. Assisted in checking report of possible fire re-ignition in Doe Hammock
  56. Obtained and laminated maps, educational posters, program notices posters  (ongoing)
  57. Developed a list of “talking points” for cabin docents and guides
  58. Developed a consolidated volunteer/public information site for SC natural lands www.walkaboutflorida.org using materials from public resources (ongoing)
  59. Purchased and installed curtains for public programs in the cabin
  60. Purchased HD TV for program presentations in the cabin
  61. Purchased correct materials and re-chinked cabin with elastomeric caulking to help stop water leaks
  62. Represented the Carlton at FireFest and the Giving Challenge: info table and maps
  63. Monitored and reported gray and black water overflow tanks in restroom
  64. Recruited, trained and acted as trail ambassadors
  65. Cleaned up campsites in Cabbage Loop
  66. Moved picnic tables to pavilion and shady locations as needed
  67. Refilled map kiosks as needed
  68. Posted SC public service notices on FB and website
  69. Provided support for USDA feral hog program
  70. Assisted with gate security at Carlton and Deer Prairie Creek
  71. Cleared path for FireFest haywagons
  72. Organized tour of water treatment plant (ongoing)
  73. Provided toilet paper when supply ran out in restroom
  74. Met FWC officers to locate illegal fossiling equipment and operations sites
  75. Trimmed sides of entrance and exit roads (ongoing)
  76. Developed slideshow of volunteers for website, FB and email distribution (ongoing)
  77. Logged Kubota usage mileage and fuel, reinflated tires as needed
  78. Cleaned and rearranged cabin (ongoing)
  79. Removed old fence wires around markers to prevent entanglement in equipment
  80. Raked and flattened (Kubota) feral hog damage


Websites Statistics


followers        1220

last 28 days post views        852

Most popular posts

June 5 regarding low flow, no flow levels on the Myakka River:      479 views

May 2 photo of alligator on Boldly Go:        612 views


www. carltonreserve.org

Visits since Mar 2015 186,255


visits last 28 days 365



Extended drought has resulted in "low flow" and "no flow" conditions along the Myakka River above the tidal zone. The river is fed only by rainfall runoff.
Photos by David Grasso, Chris Oliver, Sherm Stratton



Friends of the Carlton



to Jay, Bill, David and Jeff


Keepers of the Land

video 1:  Keepers of the Land

video 2: Retirement Tribute



Sarasota County Recognizes Volunteers

(including Friends of the Carlton Reserve)

for contributing in kind services worth over $6.2 million

(click photo for video link)




 Barred Owl hunting along south border of Carlton Reserve


video by Kevin Walgreen


(click photo for link)



Alligators (excerpts)

Presentation by FWC Officer Andy Polaszek

March 18, 2024

(click on picture for link)



Juvenile Gator on Mother's Back

Photo by Kevin Walgreen


TAMPA MOCK VERVAIN, Glandularia tampensis
photo by Sherm
Native, Endemic, Endangered-Florida
A species of plants native to the state that are in imminent danger of extinction within the state, the survival of which is unlikely if the causes of a decline in the number of plants continue, and includes all species determined to be endangered or threatened pursuant to the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973.








Photo Gallery

by Dave Cottrill

Both male and females make these calls which carry long distances and frequently inspire other gators to join the competition.


video captured by Kevin Walgreen in the Carlton Reserve



May to December 2024

click on picture for video on YouTube

Ban on Fossil Collecting on Myakka River
Florida Museum of Natural History
"One of the most impacted of these is the Myakka River and its tributaries and we have been advised to take immediate action to protect not only sensitve environmental and archaeological sites, but also our fossil collecting community from inadvertently breaking the law.
As such, the Florida Fossil Permit no longer covers the Myakka River and its tributaries.
The FWCLE will be enforcing this shut down."

Frog Concert in the Carlton Reserve

video by Terri Roberts


(Sound on)



Carlton Reserve is on ABC7 WWSB

Discovering the Suncoast

with Mike Modrick


Click image to view



The Carlton segment is about 9 minutes into the broadcast and covers the law enforcement search, Hurricane damage, flooding, the Memorial Day 2021 wildfire and Fire Fest 2023


Recent Trail Camera images from before Hurricane Ian

Mesic hammock (central Carton Reserve)

 Pine flatwoods (north Carlton Reserve)

Turkey Flock filmed by Harvey Thomas, Feb 2023--turn sound up






ABC7:  Mike Modrick interviews  Joyce Adams and Sherm Stratton

in the Carlton Reserve

Click here

Friends of the Carlton Summer of 2022 Update

A Day In the Life of a Slough

Carlton Reserve Monday, April 11, 2022

It's all good:
9 months after the Memorial Day wildfire set by lightning, wildflowers are springing up within sight of the cabin:

Spring in the Carlton Reserve

Swallow Tail Kites Return and Wildflowers Blooming Today

Photos by Art Smith



Despite closures due to COVID, wildfire, flooding, and a month-long manhunt, the Carlton Reserve's priceless serenity is a sanctuary, reminding us of nature's ability to renew itself and us.


Click on picture or here to view 4 minute video using trail cam captures.



Excellent video on Alligators

Sarasota County Play on FaceBook

 filmed in the Carlton Reserve



Amazing half hour video


captured by Jacob Klasinski documents not only the dynamic Carlton Reserve environment as it transitions from drought to flood, but also its rich biodiversity of wildlife and habitats: coyotes, owls, bobcats, alligators, herons, egrets, hogs, deer, otter, vultures, raccoons--even crayfish and fish! Click on video  

Resilience and Rejuvenation at The Carlton Reserve
Photos by Jean-Louis Dumaine on reopening day, one month after Memorial Day 2021 fire.



"Queen of the Marsh"

new trail camera video


alligator and other wildlife from the Carlton Reserve


by Jacob Klasinski



More great trail camera video


from the Carlton Reserve and Big Slough


by Jacob Klasinski

Click on photo



New trail camera video footage 


from Jacob Klasinski


Carlton Reserve Wildlife:

coyotes, deer, turkey, bobcat, feral hogs, etc.


Click here or on photo

"You are here" map kiosks (12) have been installed in the Carlton Reserve to assist trail users along 100 miles of trails crisscross 38 sq. miles.


12 UV resistant signs were designed by Debbie Blanco (retired 10/30/20), funded by Friends of the Carlton, printed by H&H Signs, and installed today by Russ Johnson and Art Smith.


Trail Camera Video

Friends of the Carlton Reserve


Trail camera team: Donna Day, Ernie Winn, Martin Siesta funded by Friends of the Carlton Reserve


Click on picture or here for video



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 

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

Sarasota County Parks Master Plan (download)


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.

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.” 

Click here for latest additions to 

The Florida Field Journal

by Darryl Saffer

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



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

Dr. Mary Jelks on Myakka River State Park

oral history project   Slideshow




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 


     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

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

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

Cornell Ornithology Lab Project Preview: BIRDS OF PARADISE

World Heritage Sites   360˚ aerial views



Use top bar to navigate this site.







Website & Info:



Park Naturalist

Meghan Harris Meyer 



Anyplace America.com

Link to searchable U.S. map resources with parks, trails, campgrounds, historical sites, marinas, etc.



Sarasota County

Field Guide

to Conservation Lands

(download 64pp. PDF)

Field Guide.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 3.8 MB



Friends of Carlton Reserve

is a chapter of  FOSCP   

not for profit corp.