Author Topic: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall  (Read 1069 times)

thelakelander

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Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« on: August 12, 2020, 08:03:09 AM »
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A little known nature preserve on Jacksonville’s Westside is home to a hidden natural treasure: one of Florida’s rare waterfalls. It’s also the source of two significant creeks and has a human history going all the way back to Isaiah D. Hart, the founder of Jacksonville. Photographer Erik Hamilton and The Jaxson’s Bill Delaney take a look at one of Northeast Florida's best, longest kept secrets.


Read More: https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/secret-jacksonville-bulls-bay-preserve-and-waterfall/
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Charles Hunter

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2020, 08:39:55 AM »
Very interesting, a true hidden gem.

If there were cattle ranchers in the area, could the "Cracker Swamp" come from the term for cowboys - "crackers" from the sound of their whips?
https://tampamagazines.com/florida-cracker-cowboys-history/

Josh

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2020, 09:43:49 AM »
Hiked around this spot earlier this year with the family. Aside from the waterfall, the trails closest to the parking lot include an area that's effectively a ravine, and just about as rare for Florida as a waterfall.

Gambit80

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2020, 10:07:01 AM »
This is 5 minutes from my house, but had yet to check out the trails. Will have to do so now. Thanks for highlighting this!

Wacca Pilatka

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2020, 10:27:29 AM »
Just when I think I have loved all of Jacksonville, someone points out new territory.

Thanks for this great feature.
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acme54321

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2020, 10:30:10 AM »
I'm part of the mountain bike club that built/maintains those trails with the city.  The whole area was a sand mine or something a long time ago, none of the waterfalls or terrain is natural.

bl8jaxnative

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2020, 10:51:07 AM »

Not to take away from the work that went into that great article but I don't believe shanghai'd is the correct term for describing the civil war train looting thing.  Well,, is it looting if ti's war?

Anyway, I'm pretty sure shangai'd referes to the taking of people, as in kidnapping.  IIRC it come out of days when people would be kidnapped and forced into naval service.  Cuz, ya know, they wouldn't dare so know because of the implications, right? 


Anyway, love to see these things.  So many great hikes right in town.  This isn't often found in major cities.

Tacachale

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2020, 02:25:45 PM »

Not to take away from the work that went into that great article but I don't believe shanghai'd is the correct term for describing the civil war train looting thing.  Well,, is it looting if ti's war?

Anyway, I'm pretty sure shangai'd referes to the taking of people, as in kidnapping.  IIRC it come out of days when people would be kidnapped and forced into naval service.  Cuz, ya know, they wouldn't dare so know because of the implications, right? 


Anyway, love to see these things.  So many great hikes right in town.  This isn't often found in major cities.

Duly noted, I'll change the wording.

And re hiking, I agree. It's one of the best things about living here, and there are so many opportunities to make it even better. When I spoke to Mark Middlebrook, he talked about a few plans in the works - and others that unfortunately got backburnered but could come back any time - that really made me feel lucky to live here.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Tacachale

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2020, 02:28:07 PM »
I'm part of the mountain bike club that built/maintains those trails with the city.  The whole area was a sand mine or something a long time ago, none of the waterfalls or terrain is natural.

That's interesting. This swamp has been frustratingly hard to find info on. There was some sand removal in the 1980s in the northwest area, but not near where the waterfall and trails are. Before that the only confirmation I could get of use was forestry and farming. Of course, prior to the creation of the SJRWMD in the 1970s, the records weren't nearly as good.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

thelakelander

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2020, 02:55:31 PM »
I'm part of the mountain bike club that built/maintains those trails with the city.  The whole area was a sand mine or something a long time ago, none of the waterfalls or terrain is natural.

You can see it in this 1960 aerial:

https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071741/00011/2x?search=duval+%3dcounty
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Tacachale

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2020, 03:09:18 PM »
I'm part of the mountain bike club that built/maintains those trails with the city.  The whole area was a sand mine or something a long time ago, none of the waterfalls or terrain is natural.

You can see it in this 1960 aerial:

https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071741/00011/2x?search=duval+%3dcounty

Really interesting.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Papa33

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2020, 03:23:18 PM »
Man.  I grew up on that side of town, went to Thomas Jefferson Elementary, played baseball and football at Marietta Bulls Bay Athletic Association, and had no idea this existed.  All of a sudden, I don't feel like I know my hometown.

acme54321

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2020, 05:16:34 PM »
I'm part of the mountain bike club that built/maintains those trails with the city.  The whole area was a sand mine or something a long time ago, none of the waterfalls or terrain is natural.

You can see it in this 1960 aerial:

https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071741/00011/2x?search=duval+%3dcounty

Really interesting.

Yep.  After that it was also used as a make shift dump because there is buried junk all over the place in parts.

bl8jaxnative

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2020, 11:10:10 AM »
I'm part of the mountain bike club that built/maintains those trails with the city.  The whole area was a sand mine or something a long time ago, none of the waterfalls or terrain is natural.

That would explain some of the piles.

Not sure what you mean by the waterfalls not being natural.  That water fall is where it is cuz of a creek, no?

And I have a hard time believing human scooped out that small narrow gorge it go through.  And there is a natural ridge / elevation change that zig zags through there off ot the north and west. 

Those few blocks of homes just to the west of it end on the north and east sides cuz of that "ridge".  Well, not so much cuz of the ridge itself as that lower land - even by Florida's low standards - was too low and swampy to bother building on.

To be clear, I ain't sayin' it didn't happen.  Only commenting that my initial reaction is it doesn't entirely look like it.   

Yet at the same time I know that all sorts of things are done, like someone scooping that out to help land just the west drain better, occur.  And with the way the plants and trees grow around here, it may not be obvious how human and recent it was.

Are there any really old trees in along that gully where the lil' water tumbling spot is ( don't want to risk getting banned from the Appalachians by calling that lil thing a "waterfall"  ;-)   )?   I don't remember any so that could be a clue.

acme54321

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Re: Secret Jacksonville: Bulls Bay Preserve and Waterfall
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2020, 12:37:03 PM »
The narrow gorge is a part of a ditch that runs the west edge of the property then turns NW and dumps into the creek.  Look at the aerial Lake posted a link to.