Reclaimed phosphate mine turned park offers hiking, fishing in Plant City

Edward Medard Conservation Park is a recycled plot of land that takes people back to nature.

"Edward Medard is a reclaimed phosphate mine from the '60s," explained park ranger Lizzie Ehrreich. "There's a wonderful park to explore."

The land was given to the Southwest Florida Water Management District by a mining company in 1969. Hillsborough County signed an agreement with SWFWMD to develop the land into one of the county's largest regional parks.

The park offers a 700-acre reservoir, a three-mile hiking trail, horseback trails and even a disc golf course.

"The reservoir that we have today," Ehrreich continued, "serves as a recreational facility but also it helps to mitigate flooding in the surrounding area." 

That flood mitigation is a nod to the partnership with SWFWMD.

"It's a stocked reservoir," added Ehrreich. Anglers can find striped bass, crappie, tilapia and catfish to name a few. Just be mindful of the alligators that live there, too.

"One of the locations that people absolutely enjoy coming to and exploring are the sacred hills," said Ehrreich.

The hills are remnants of the phosphate mine that early park rangers planted oak trees on more than 40 years ago.

Now those oak trees are lofty giants shading one of the park's most unique landscapes.

"It is really a wonderful way to get away from the daily grind," added Ehrreich.

LINK: Click here for more information about Edward Medard Conservation Park.