Riverview Pointe Preserve

Image Riverview Pointe Preserve

Riverview Pointe Preserve is an 11-acre site located in northwest Bradenton, Florida. The site is adjacent to the DeSoto National Memorial but is managed by Manatee County's Natural Resources Department.

Although small in acreage, the preserve is home to a variety of wildlife and uplands and coastal habitats including the rare scrub ecosystem, oak hammock, and mangrove forest. This location is also home to a thriving gopher tortoise colony.

Riverview Pointe has a rich cultural history – it was designated as part of “Shaw’s Point” Archaeological District by the 1939 United States De Soto Expedition Commission and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. This area (among other locations) claims an approximate landing site of the 1539 Hernando de Soto expedition, although the exact location of the landing site is subject to discussion and controversy among historians.

Riverview Pointe is part of a large prehistoric coastal village inhabited by Florida Indians from about 356 B.C. to 110 A.D. The village and midden complex ran from the Riverview Pointe property northward into the De Soto National Memorial. The village complex included a huge temple mound, several smaller mounds, and a central freshwater spring, yet none of these features remain today. Most, if not all, of the complex was destroyed during the early twentieth century when its shell was mined for roadfill.

When nine acres of the land were sold to a developer in the late 1990s, the citizens of Manatee County strongly supported that this property remain part of De Soto National Memorial Park, however the federal government could not purchase the land at the time. With the assistance of Florida Communities Trust through a State of Florida Preservation 2000 grant and support of neighboring residents who raised $100,000, the land was purchased by the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners.

Things to Do

Photo by Rob Hamiltion
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Photo by Rob Hamiltion
The animals adapted to living in the Coastal Scrub habitat include fence lizards, several varieties of wood-peckers, and the gopher tortoise.

Riverview Pointe Preserve offers walking and hiking through a variety of unique Florida habitats including Coastal Strand, Hammock and Scrub. The Coastal Strand ecosystem is a transitional zone between the windy coast and the stable upland systems. The plants living in this area are tolerant of the winds and salt and help protect inland areas from severe storms. The plant community, often stunted by the growing conditions, includes buttonwood, necklace pod, fish poison vine, Christmasberry, prickly pear cactus and Spanish bayonet.

 

Sheltered from the harsh coastal conditions, the Coastal Hammock ecosystem can be identified by its large trees and a rich understory of small woody plants and vines. Tree cover includes cabbage palm, live oak, hickory and cedar. The understory includes wild coffee, beauty berry, Cherokee bean and many vines including several species of wild grape and Virginia creeper. Look out for poison ivy. Most of the animals that inhabit the Coastal Hammock are nocturnal, such as raccoons, opossums, foxes and armadillos.

 

The rare Coastal Scrub habitat, an ecosystem that features plants adapted to living in high heat, little food, and sandy soil. Plants here include very large, old sand pine with the typical scrub oak contingency: sand live oak, Chapman’s oak, and myrtle oak, along with saw palmetto. The very sandy soil filters the rainwater and the aquifer below receives crystal clear water as a result. The habitat is ideal for colonies of gopher tortoise, a keystone species which shares its burrow with many other creatures including the gopher frog, eastern indigo snake, rabbits, mice, and insects.

 

Recreational activities include:

  • Hiking and Nature Trails
  • Dog-walking
  • Wildlife viewing

Hiking: Available on all trails. The shell-packed trail begins in the high, dry sand pine scrub, continues downhill through the coastal hammock, and ends at the riverfront coastal strand. Continue on this trail to enter the mangrove forest boardwalk in the adjacent De Soto National Memorial Park along the Manatee River. Please help to protect the habitat and resident wildlife by remaining on designated trails at all times.

 

Accessibility: Most of the trails are packed shell through the preserve.

 

Wildlife Viewing: A variety of birds and wildlife can be seen throughout the preserve in the restored native ecosystems.

 

Dog-walking: Dogs are welcome in the preserve provided they are kept on leash at all times and owners pick up after their pets. Pet waste stations are available with bags for your convenience.

 

Driving Directions

Take Manatee Avenue (SR 64) west to 75th Street and turn north. Continue to almost the end of the road (it dead-ends into DeSoto National Memorial) and park at the split-rail fence and parking lot on your left just before the entrance to the National Memorial.

 


View Manatee County Preserves in a larger map

 

Contact Information and Hours of Operation

Open Daily   Hours vary by season. Operating times are listed at each preserve location.


Entrance into Riverview Pointe Preserve is free to the public.

Phone: (941)742-5923