The phrase “Urban Wildlife” may bring to mind some very vivid mental illustrations. However, if you were standing on Courtney Boulevard in central Merritt Island, you are likely to get an entirely different perception of the term. Sandwiched between the urban environments of central Merritt Island(once called Merritt City), and the beachside, is the Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary consists of 457 acres managed by Brevard County Parks and Recreation. This property is bordered to the North by conservation lands, approximately 300 acres managed by the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program.
Activities include fishing, hiking, paddling, off-road biking, and wildlife watching. When driving into the park on Old Audubon Road, watch for a gate on the North side of the road. Park across the road and walk past the gate and the pump station. A kayak launch area is located a short distance to the West. An unpaved road/trail heads West and then bends Northwest to follow the dike along Sykes Creek. This trail remains walkable for approximately 3 miles up to Highway 528, but the vegetation can make bike riding challenging. A shorter trail leads East along another dike - essentially parallel to Sykes Creek Parkway. Fishing is abundant on either side of the island, and surf fishing is just a short drive away. Snook, which is a favorite fish of the locals is one of the most sporting fish to catch, not to mention one of the best-tasting fish in the sea. Redfish can also be caught all along the shores in the early morning and around dusk. This is another both fierce and delicious catch.
All of this is just a short hike from almost every modern convenience known to man. Shopping plazas, schools, restaurants, and home improvement mega stores, with enough various activities and entertainment to never have to leave the island. Homes in the central part of Merritt Island are both many and varied. Eastern neighborhoods consist mostly of two and three-bedroom ranchers. The neighborhoods are clean and give the impression that the residents take great pride in their community. Palm tree-lined streets with well-manicured lawns really convey the Florida living experience.
If you live in central Merritt Island, there is a good chance that your home will be waterfront. Most homes on the east side of the island have very easy access to the paddle trails which wind through the sanctuary. Folks on the western shore of Merritt Island enjoy vast estates and modest living combined along the Tropical Trail, winding along the Indian River. If you can just get in your car and travel down this stretch of road, you can get a real feeling of the joy in living there may bring.
Central Merritt Island has to be one of the most ideal living areas in Florida. Every convenience and activity that a person can associate with southern coastal life is but a short distance from home. Everything from having the perfect view of NASA lift-offs, to a quiet day of kayaking in the wetlands. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy a multitude of public arenas featuring soccer, baseball, running, and more.
Birdwatch from your backyard after a long day of work, and relax with all of your peaceful surroundings, or walk to a nearby restaurant for an evening meal, in the nearby area of town.