Coachwhip snake by gopher tortoise burrow
Longleaf pine, turkey oaks, and wiregrass cover the gently rolling hills of this 380-acre area near Brooksville. The WEA was established in 1995 as a gopher tortoise mitigation preserve through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Mitigation Park Program. Perry Oldenburg was the first park acquired through this program. Resource management activities primarily focus on restoring and maintaining critical upland habitats for the gopher tortoise and other listed species. The park was named to honor the memory of Perry W. Oldenburg, a wildlife biologist whose commitment to preserving sandhill communities helped establish this park and other wildlife habitats in the region. Mature stands of longleaf pine grow on higher slopes; these areas were last logged over 100 years ago. Selective timber cutting and cattle grazing on other stands of longleaf pine ended just prior to state purchase in the early 1990s and pines are naturally regenerating in these areas. A 1.5-mile trail along with a 0.5-mile Florida Trail Association segment both wind through sandhills and hardwood hammocks, where gopher tortoises, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and southeastern kestrels are regularly spotted.