A Guide to the Geneva Wilderness Area
|Geneva Wilderness Area|
There are two main trails in the wilderness area, and both are relatively easy trails to walk. The Loop Trail with red markers takes you on a loop around the ponds. The trail with yellow markers takes you to Flagler Trail, a trail that takes you through the Little Big Econ State Forest. When I go in search of wildlife, I normally walk the trails in such a way that I can see a lot of the diversity in the park. Here's my typical route: from the main parking lot, there's an open field to the left. I walk out to that field and then turn right, looking for sparrows and other birds in the taller grasses. Shortly after this, the caretaker's house will appear on the right and gravel road leading to the nature center. I make a left there and walk past the nature center to the trail. At this point I'm walking through a scrub environment. The trail leads to a loop around two ponds. I usually make a right at this trail. Live Oaks then begin to appear, as well, and then taller grasses among pines. Eventually I come to the chapel on the left. This is my favorite place in the park. There are several dead trees (my daughter calls them woodpecker trees) there. I usually walk out to see the two ponds and look for shorebirds, wading birds, and ducks. I then continue on the trail around the ponds through the pines until I complete the loop. Just past where I entered this loop there's a trail that goes to the right. This trail goes past the third pond, which is on the left. This is another good place to look for ducks, wading birds and shorebirds. When I finish there, I continue on the path to a smaller trail to the right that goes back to the parking lot through a pine scrub environment. This walk takes about 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace, stopping occasionally to view or photograph scenery and wildlife.
While not as diverse as some of the other places I visit, the Geneva WA supports a pretty nice diversity of wildlife. I frequently see White-tailed Deer in the park, occasionally find Gopher Tortoises, and on rare occasions, I've seen Bobcats.
The accommodations inside the park are rustic at best, but nice. On their website, they say that there's one primitive campsite that can be reserved, though the trail map shows two, and I've found two campsites in the park. I don't know if that means there's a mistake on the website or if one of the campsites is no longer available for camping. There is supposedly a restroom at each campsite, but I haven't found either (nor have I looked very long). But the campsites are quite beautiful situated among the pines--one is by the nature center and the other is by the lake. There's an outdoor chapel that looks like it could hold about 30 people for prayer or worship services. The Ed Yarborough Nature Center is there as well. I haven't ever gone inside though, so I can't tell you much about it.