Dauset Trails: Middle Georgia’s hidden treasure

Dauset Trails Nature Center is devoted to wildlife conservation, preservation of Georgia’s traditional plant life, outdoor recreation, and reviving traditional rural skills, such as blacksmithing and preparing cane syrup.

A rescued bald eagle on the wildlife trail. His wing was injured in the wild before he came to live at Dauset Trails. Photo by Lauren Deal.
A rescued bald eagle on the wildlife trail. His wing was injured in the wild before he came to live at Dauset Trails. Photo by Lauren Deal.

The Nature Center features a reptile house, a wildlife walk featuring animals ranging from river otter and bear to owls and cougar, a wildlife watching pavilion, and pond overlooks where children can feed ducks, fish, and turtles. End of summer is a fun time to visit the Nature Center early in the morning, but as the day heats up, many of the animals retreat to their dens. A new addition to the wildlife walk is a bathroom shelter near the beaver, where the barnyard path diverges past Pavilion 1.

The barnyard has grown in recent years into a lovely replica of a 19th century farm. There is still the animal yard, with pigs, goats, cows, and lots of chickens, the chicken coop, and the old barn with its traditional farming equipment on display. A working blacksmith shop, a cane syrup mill and syrup cooking area, a general store, a tenant house, and a smokehouse complete the barnyard. In the fall, Dauset Trails will host a cane syrup making day on November 19, 2016; traditionally, they also host blacksmithing exhibitions by the Ocmulgee Blacksmith Guild.  Check back on Macon Community News for updates on this event.

For a quarter, children can get food pellets to feed the river otters at Dauset Trails.
For a quarter, children can get food pellets to feed the river otters at Dauset Trails.

Dauset Trails also has many miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Hiking and biking trails are marked with different colored blazes and numbered way points. A comprehensive map is available for download and printing on the Dauset Trails website. The trails vary from approximately 3 miles to 17 miles long. There are also campsites, with Adirondack-style shelters for camping by organized groups, such as scouts and 4-H.

As Middle Georgians look forward to cooler days in the fall, plan a trip to Dauset Trails for your family to enjoy the best nature has to offer.

Dauset Trails is located at 360 Mt. Vernon Church Road, Jackson, Georgia 30233.  Their website can be found at dausettrails.com.

 

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