Welcome to Camp Chowenwaw Park:|
Spring (March - May)
Spring is right on time this year after some typical cold, wet fronts in January and February. The wild plum flowers have come and gone, but there will still be plenty of native plants blooming in the coming months. Watch for rain-lilies and blue-flag iris at the pond and in the swamps. Lyre-leaved sage brightens the roadsides. The state wildflower, coreopsis, blooms where the grass is rarely mowed. Hollies and swamp dogwood trees bloom. Blueberries, blackberries, and fetterbush, started blooming in February, and will continue for several weeks. Yet to come are the wild azaleas, swamp dogwood, and various hollies. Even the lawns sport patches of low-growing native flowers such as innocence. In the animal world, white-tailed deer deliver their fawns. Several species of freshly hatched aquatic turtles dig out of their nests, including the peninsular cooter. Swallow-tailed kites and osprey return from their southern wintering grounds. Breeding season is in full swing for many year-round resident birds, including mourning doves, Carolina wrens, northern cardinals, and tufted titmice. Bald eagle chicks fledge. Most migrating songbirds that spent the winter in Central and South America fly directly across the Gulf of Mexico from the Yucatan peninsula, bypassing Florida entirely in the spring. But look for Acadian flycatchers, black-throated blue warblers, blue-headed vireos, scarlet tanagers, hooded warblers, veery, or Swainson’s thrushes. You won’t see them again until they head south in the fall.
Volunteering at Camp Chowenwaw Park:
Opportunities for Camp Chowenwaw Park volunteers include leading environmental
education programs, helping with our museum, and general park maintenance
Info for Current Volunteers
Special Events and Public Programs:
History museum is open third Saturdays 9 – 11 am
Visit the Nature Center in Kiwita Building for quarterly exhibits and featured speakers. Check dates and
In honor of the 45th annual Earth Day, join us to Celebrate Earth at Camp Chowenwaw
County Park on Saturday April 11, 9 am to 3 pm.
Camp Chowenwaw Park is a 150 – acre site that Clay County purchased in the Spring of 2006 from the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council. The Girl Scouts operated the camp for more than 70 years before deciding to relocate. The parcel has 100 acres of wetlands and 50 acres of uplands, and is located at the mouth of Black Creek. This relatively pristine site contains predominantly undisturbed upland and wetland natural communities. Camp Chowenwaw Park is located on 1.5 miles of shoreline on Black Creek and Peters Creek and provides a habitat for many water birds. The aquatic vegetation provides foraging areas for the St. Johns River manatee population as well as an ideal habitat for many fish species. Bald eagles, river otters, white tailed deer, turkeys, alligators, foxes, raccoons, migrating songbirds, as well as frogs, lizards, snakes, and turtles are just a few of the creatures you might see while visiting Camp Chowenwaw Park.
Recreational activities include camping, picnicking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing,
bird watching, wildlife viewing, outdoor photography, and hiking. Our trail
systems through the uplands and the wetlands offer scenic tracts for the hiking
enthusiast. Camping facilities include 15 tent sites, two lodges with bunk beds
sleeping 16 people per cabin, 9 tree house cabins, each accommodating 4 people,
and 7 cabins with bunk beds sleeping 4 – 8 people. Each campsite has a
bathhouse with full restroom accommodations, and a unit house with electricity,
including a stove and refrigerator. Located throughout the park, and at each
campsite, are picnic tables and grills for use by campers and park visitors. To
minimize impacts on our natural resources and to protect our plant and wildlife
communities, vehicle access is limited. Camping sites and cabins are accessed
by walking trails. The park is ideally suited as a natural outdoor
environmental education facility when you consider the setting, location, and
proximity of diverse upland and wetland ecosystems. Classes and naturalist
programs for organized groups and the public will be available in outdoor and
indoor classrooms. The natural outdoor laboratory will allow an opportunity for
all conservation minded organizations to become involved with projects to
promote protection and conservation enhancement of aquatic, terrestrial habitat,
and wildlife in St. Johns watersheds.
Stop by for a
picnic or a scenic nature hike, attend one of our naturalist programs, or stay
for a day or two in one of our tree house cabins. Enjoy a bird’s eye view
overlooking the Peters Creek floodplain surrounded by spectacular forested
wetland communities of mature cypress and hardwoods. We have it all for the
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