Monday, December 28, 2009

Centerville Trail, Tallahassee, Florida

The Centerville Trail is a paved, ten-foot wide, 1.72-mile long multi-use trail in the northeast of Leon County. Also called the Centerville Conservation Trail, the Pisgah Church Pedway, and the Centerville Pedway, the trail runs along the north side of Pisgah Church Road and the west side of Centerville Road, hugging the border of the Centerville Conservation Community. The trail's pavement is a coarse, permeable blacktop, covered in many places with leaves or pine needles as it meanders underneath huge live oaks.

Here's an end-to-end description of the Centerville Trail, starting from the west.

The west end of the trail is along Pisgah Church Road, less than a tenth of a mile from the intersection with Bradfordville Road. Residents of the Baker Place subdivision can access the trail using a footpath leading about 100 yards from a greenspace along Grenville Road. The rest of us are out of luck; Baker Place has their path marked by a friendly sign reading "PRIVATE PROPERTY--Baker Place Homeowners Association."

Heading east, Pisgah Church Road is close at hand on the right, while a longleaf pine and wiregrass environment is on the left. This is designated on maps of the Centerville Conservation Community as a gopher tortoise preserve. At 0.30 miles the trail crosses Wiregrass Way and the longleaf pines give way to live oaks and rail fences. This is horse land; occasional signs ask that you "Please avoid contact with the horses." East of Wiregrass Way the trail crosses two small wooden bridges across seasonal streams (drainage ditches to anyone who doesn't write poetry or real estate ad copy). At 0.70 miles there is a small parking area to the right of the trail, only large enough for two or three cars. This is the closest to a trailhead that the Centerville Trail has.

The trail reaches the intersection of Pisgah Church Road and Centerville Road at 0.86 miles, and makes a sharp left turn to follow Centerville Road. On the left there is a view of a holding pond inside the horse fence. The trail starts a respectable climb here; this is not a pancake-flat rail trail. Centerville Road is busier than Pisgah Church Road, so you can usually hear traffic noise. On the other hand, the trail is often far enough away from Centerville Road that the traffic doesn't intrude on your eyes even if it trespasses on your ears.

At 1.12 miles the trail crosses Conservation Drive. A plaque here reads:

Centerville Conservation
TRAIL
____________________

This trail is dedicated to the citizens of Leon County
by Conservation Community Group as scenic byway
for the everlasting enjoyment of our canopy roads.
____________________

July 2007

The Centervillle Conservation Community is a lot more hospitable than Baker Place.

On the other hand, Centerville Conservation Community maintains about seven miles of trails for the sole use of its residents. You can see one of these blue-blazed trails intersecting the Centerville Trail on the left at 1.38 miles and another at 1.42 miles. These flank a swamp that has been set aside for snakes and birds. At 1.63 miles the trail crosses Lick Skillet Drive, a short dead-end road that is home to four vacant lots. Shortly after crossing Lick Skillet is the east end of the Centerville Trail, 1.72 miles from the west end. Beyond the trail's end is City of Tallahassee / Leon County Fire Station Number 11. If you have a moment, stop and admire their memorial garden.

The Centerville Trail passes some rich wildlife habitats. You'd have to be totally oblivious not to spot a dozen species of birds along the way. Quail and red-headed woodpeckers seem especially abundant. Fox squirrels roam the live oak woods. There are only three road crossings, all Centerville Conservation Community roads, which will never see much traffic even when the development fills up.


Other than the few parking spots along Pisgah Church Road a couple of tenths of a mile from Centerville Road, there isn't any place for visitors to access the Centerville Trail. But at only 1.72 miles long, the trail may be too short to attract many visitors. It's a good trail for local users, though, and you can spot more than a few people walking it. I've never seen horses on the trail, but frequent patches of manure testify to their passage. And the Centerville Road Trail is not far away. Each of the two trails is less than two miles long, but if they could be connected then northeast Tallahassee would have a respectable multi-use trail--albeit a respectable multi-use trail in need of a trailhead.

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