Windy Sawgrass Camp Working Windmill



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 

Listen to Dr. Mary Jelks on Myakka River State Park--oral history project. Click here for 


Trailer at Tucker's Camp Retires

     The Spartan Mansion trailer located at Tucker's Camp was removed from the Carlton Wednesday morning, Feb. 26, 2014.  Bill Lemons from La Porte IN prepared the trailer for transport and then pulled it out of the Carlton to be renovated at his facility.  This saved the County the expense of removing it while providing Bill Lemons with a "project" for his hobby.  Thanks goes to Kenya Leonard who recognized that the 1949 Spartan trailer could be a "collectible".  Thanks also goes to Debbie Blanco who coordinated the project and let the Friends group find a future owner.  It was the  Wednesday morning Sarasota County volunteer crew who did the actual work of preparing the route for the trailer out of the Carlton via the South Border Trail.  The removal effort was on schedule and according to plan.  Amazing!

See FOSCP site with Lucy and Desi in "Long Long Trailer" film clip

See "after renovation" pictures here

More Tucker's Camp History

     We think the trailer was placed at Tucker's Camp on the south border before the Carlton was in public ownership when a hunt lease was granted to Boyce Blackmon. Boyce sublet the southern part of the Carlton to the Tucker family who owned Tucker's Sporting Goods near 5 points in downtown Sarasota for many years,

      When the Carlton came into public ownership in 1984, the County used a second trailer on this site as a field office.  That trailer burned up in a 6000 acre fire in May, 2000,  which also ravaged the oak canopy in an area that is the designated site for public use facilities ( the P.U.F. area that appears on County planning maps for the Reserve).
      The trailer we removed today survived that fire but has been derelict for several decades and presented problems because of its dilapidated state in an area open to passive public recreation. The County has long wanted to dispose of it but its remote location and condition made removal difficult and expensive.
      Russ Johnson, secretary and treasurer of the Friends of the Carlton, with permission from the County, advertised the trailer, hoping to find a buyer or other interested party willing to remove it with the help of volunteers, who would then clean up the site where unsightly debris and cabana materials had been left to decay. Constructed of heavy gauge, aircraft grade, riveted aluminum, this 1949 Spartan Mansion trailer is sought by collectors but the cost and difficulty of removal discouraged all but one. After 30+ responses, the list of interested persons who would undertake the task of removal at their own expense came down to Bill Lemons from LaPorte,IN.
      With his own crew and help from Sarasota County volunteers, most of whom are members of the Friends of the Carlton, Bill Lemons permanently removed the trailer after tearing off the cabana, and installing new hubs, bearings, wheels, and tires. Volunteers helped clear debris from the site and build a temporary bridge over a dry bed stream in which the 33' trailer would have  "bottomed out." 
      Some years ago, one of our "Friends" donated several truck loads of 4X4 "retired" real estate posts for making trail markers. Our volunteers cut the posts to appropriate lengths this and created a temporary bridge in a low spot ahead of Bill Lemons' tow vehicle as the trailer made its last passage over 1.6 miles of rough trail to the nearest paved road.
      He plans to renovate/recondition the trailer. He shared pictures of previous such hobby projects he has completed to become part of his collection. We will post "before and after" photos as soon as they arrive.
      As we watched this piece of Carlton memorabilia being rescued, members of the work party speculated what the reaction might be if we pulled the trailer into an RV dealership and offered to trade it. And some of us remembered Lucy and Desi on their ill-fated turn into the wilderness on a rainy night in "The Long, Long Trailer."

Volunteers man the cabin as often as possible. Russ Johnson and Bruce Hamill are often "on duty" to answer questions about the Carlton Reserve and offer a bottle of water or a cup of coffee.






The Carlton was once the site of cattle operations and turpentining. Six miles northeast of the historic cabin (donated and reassembled in the Carlton from its location on Phillippi Creek), now serving as the visitors center, is Windy Sawgrass Camp with this original storage shed, restored bunkhouse, cookshack, stables, dipping vat,  and a working windmill.


Buster Longino talks on turpentine industry, ranching, Sarasota County history, natural lands, conservation, water resources. Click here

The History of Florida Turpentine Camps, Herald Tribune

Carlton Purchase Referendum: SC Ordinance 82.94,Resolution 82.200
Carlton Purchase History
In addition to permanent Deed Restrictions placed on the Carlton at the time of purchase from the MacArthur Foundation, uses of the Reserve are restricted by referendum approved resolution and ordinance 82-200 and 82-94:
Apndx C_Ord82.94_Res82 200.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 689.7 KB
History of the Myakka River
History of the Myakka River Sarasota Cou
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.8 MB
Dipping Vats
Dipping vats.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 36.0 KB

Ordinances, Rules and Laws Protecting the Carlton

Deed transferring Carlton property to Sarasota County
MacArthur Foundation, 1984, Official Records Book 1658, pages 1814ff
MacArthur Deed pdf copy.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 2.3 MB
Appendix A: Conservation Easement (perpetual deed restriction) attached to deed: OR book 2133 Page 746
Florida Statute 704.6 referenced in deed restriction placed by SC Circuit Court, 1984.
Provides for retention of "land or water areas predominantly in their natural, scenic, open, agricultural, or wooded condition; retaining such areas as suitable habitat for fish, plants, or wildlife, " which may be enforced by third party injunction. Easement exempts utility use and park use, "similar to those presently permitted at Myakka River State Park."
FS704.6 and exhibit A copy.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 408.8 KB
Carlton Land Management Plan approved by BCC 1994
Incorporates Ord. 82.200 and provides that 24,565 acres of the Carlton will be "maintained in a natural state" as habitat for "threatened and endangered species" in an "environmentally sensitive manner" with "ecologically benign, nonconsumptive,
resource-based recreational and educational use by the public."
CMR LMP Resolution 1994 copy.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 514.0 KB
Carlton Land Management Plan adopted by BCC 2004
The plan incorporates the above ordinances, resolutions, state laws and recommends the following:

". . .Managing the Carlton and Pineland Reserves alone would require at least 4-6 full time staff, just for prescribed fire, security, monitoring, planning and contract administration."

"Apoxsee, Sarasota County’s Comprehensive Plan provides for the protection and management of the county’s native habitats balanced with the need for public resource- based, ecologically benign, and non-consumptive recreation."

Chapter 3:
1.1.5 Recreational uses implemented on the Pinelands Reserve and the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve shall be limited to activities, which are ecologically benign, non-consumptive and resource-based. (RU-31, Ord. 97-062, July 8, 1997)
1.2.5 Sarasota County will identify areas, which could qualify as "natural area" parks. When acquired and included in the park system, such areas will be kept in their natural state, receiving maintenance according to normal
2004 S C Land Management Master Plan cop
Adobe Acrobat Document 762.1 KB
Carlton Land Use Plan draft, 2009
Repeats protection for "all natural communities. . .especially those designated as threatened, endangered or species of special concern," provides "opportunities for scientific research and for ecologically benign, non-consumptive, resource-based recreational and educational use by the public. "
2009 draft Carlton_LMP copy.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 2.3 MB
Utilities Department security restrictions after 9-11, Carlton Land Use Plan draft 2009. p. 35
Prohibits private vehicular use of the Carlton: "A loss of public confidence in the water supply, even absent a true health hazard, would be a disaster for Sarasota County Utilities in terms of public perception and relations." "Motorized vehicular travel will continue to be banned, with the exception of Sarasota County staff or their representatives, within the Reserve."
Utilities p35 2009 Carlton LMP draft.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 65.1 KB
Florida Statute 258.501 Myakka River; wild and scenic segment
Designates the Myakka River adjacent to the Carlton Reserve as "wild and scenic" with protections that include "restriction of motorized travel by land vehicle or boat," regulation, control, and distribution of public access." "Sarasota County . . .shall amend the comprehensive plan" "to conform to"or "be more stringent than" the river management plan". . . within 1 year after the adoption date of the agreement. . .such amendments need not conform to statutory or local ordinance limitations . . . of amendments to local
comprehensive plans."
FloridaLaws.MyakkaR copy.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 94.2 KB
Rule 62D-15.005 Prohibitions within Wild and Scenic River Area
Prohibitions include discharging pollutants, cutting or removing native vegetation, constructing new road crossings, airboats, constructing any structure not related to a water-dependent activity, and any other activity which adversely impacts resource values in the river area.
62d-15 copy.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 60.6 KB





Website & Info:


Park Naturalist

Meghan Harris Meyer



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.