Complex at Lettuce Lake Conservation Park named for former Hillsborough County, City of Tampa parks leader

Hillsborough County is full of inspiring, iconic, and interesting places, and there are remarkable people behind them. This series explores namesakes of some of the county's communities, buildings, schools, parks, and roads.

Who is Joel Jackson?

Jackson, born in 1942, was a longtime planner for Hillsborough County and the first parks and recreation planner for the City of Tampa. He was a founding member of the Save Our Bay effort and planned the development of the County's Lettuce Lake, Upper Tampa Bay, and Alderman's Ford Conservation Parks, to name a few. He also championed the creation of the City's "Bro Bowl" skateboard park. Now retired, he is a wildlife and native plant enthusiast, a nature photographer, and an avid supporter of environmentally-oriented groups and causes.

Why name the Lettuce Lake Conservation Park Nature Center for him?

Jackson grew up in Seminole Heights and received bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of South Florida. He is devoted to preserving Hillsborough County's natural treasures and providing places for residents to experience them. He was instrumental in acquiring land for public nature preserves and parks and, in retirement, often leads plant identification hikes at one of his favorites, Lettuce Lake Conservation Park.

About the Nature Center

The recently named Joel Jackson Nature Center, with interpretive exhibits and ample space for nature talks, is a highlight at the most popular conservation park in Hillsborough County. Located just east of the University of South Florida's main campus, more than half of the 240-acre park is within the Hillsborough River floodplain. In addition to the nature center, park amenities include a 3,500-foot boardwalk, observation tower, 1.25-mile paved trail, a canoe and kayak concession, picnic pavilions, playground, and restrooms.

Last Modified: 1/26/2024, 5:28:57 PM

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