A typical pine forest surrounded by waterways, Inglis Island offers many opportunities for birding and viewing wildlife. Inglis Island is sandwiched between Lake Rousseu at Inglis Dam and the Cross Florida Barge Canal at Inglis Lock just off SR 40. Once a prosperous waterway this area now belongs to the Marjorie Harris Cross Florida Greenway and designated for mainly for preservation and recreation.
Park at Inglis Dam and enjoy the park that sits on the beautiful shoreline of Lake Rouseau. An American kestrel keeps watch perched high up on a power line while a pair of eastern bluebirds perch themselves near the boat ramp. The coots fill the shoreline and awkwardly run on top of the water to escape from an intruder as you approach them. Morehen, brown pelican and pied billed grebe float comfortable amongst the coots fishing for their next meal. A Belted Kingfisher roosts atop the Dam rail ready to fly in a moments notice. Cross over Inglis Dam to Inglis Island to hike, backpack, camp the Great Florida Birding Trail.
This 4 mile trek takes you through pine flat woods over to Inglis Lock and along the canal. Watch for wild turkey trotting along the trail atop the berm. Listen for hawks and woodpeckers as you pass through the pine uplands. From the Pine Forest trek up a man-made berm made of misplaced soil from the creation of the barge Canal. Take time to relax on a birding bench along the canal and watch for gulls, terns, morehen, coots, pied billed grebe, and Osprey activity in the canal. From here the trail leads you back past a modest Cypress Dome into a hardwood hammock full of mighty oaks and cabbage palms. The return loop then leads you along Lake Rousseau. Here the boyscout camps are often full of troops spending the weekend out in the wilderness. Look for Blue Jays and Cardinals as you finish the trek back to Inglis Dam to complete the loop.
History: Back in the late 1800′s John Dunn of Dunnellon Phosphate built Inglis Dam and Inglis Lock to transport millions of dollars worth of phosphate mined in the area that is now known as the City of Dunnellon. The Dam built on the Withlacoochee River created Lake Rousseau which is now a haven for freshwater fishing, boating, paddling, hiking, camping, backpacking, and birding. This area is managed by the Office of Greenways and Trail in Ocala Florida.