Camp Chowenwaw Park is a 150 – acre site that Clay County purchased in the Spring of 2006 from the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council. The Girl Scouts operated the camp for more than 70 years before deciding to relocate. The parcel has 100 acres of wetlands and 50 acres of uplands, and is located at the mouth of Black Creek. This relatively pristine site contains predominantly undisturbed upland and wetland natural communities. Camp Chowenwaw Park is located on 1.5 miles of shoreline on Black Creek and Peters Creek and provides a habitat for many water birds. The aquatic vegetation provides foraging areas for the St. Johns River manatee population as well as an ideal habitat for many fish species. Bald eagles, river otters, white tailed deer, turkeys, alligators, foxes, raccoons, migrating songbirds, as well as frogs, lizards, snakes, and turtles are just a few of the creatures you might see while visiting Camp Chowenwaw Park.
Recreational activities include camping, picnicking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing, bird watching, wildlife viewing, outdoor photography, and hiking. Our trail systems through the uplands and the wetlands offer scenic tracts for the hiking enthusiast. Camping facilities include 15 tent sites, two lodges with bunk beds sleeping 16 people per cabin, 9 tree house cabins, each accommodating 4 people, and 7 cabins with bunk beds sleeping 4 – 8 people. Each campsite has a bathhouse with full restroom accommodations, and a unit house with electricity, including a stove and refrigerator. Located throughout the park, and at each campsite, are picnic tables and grills for use by campers and park visitors. To minimize impacts on our natural resources and to protect our plant and wildlife communities, vehicle access is limited. Camping sites and cabins are accessed by walking trails. The park is ideally suited as a natural outdoor environmental education facility when you consider the setting, location, and proximity of diverse upland and wetland ecosystems. Classes and naturalist programs for organized groups and the public will be available in outdoor and indoor classrooms. The natural outdoor laboratory will allow an opportunity for all conservation minded organizations to become involved with projects to promote protection and conservation enhancement of aquatic, terrestrial habitat, and wildlife in St. Johns watersheds.
Stop by for a picnic or a scenic nature hike, attend one of our naturalist programs, or stay for a day or two in one of our tree house cabins. Enjoy a bird’s eye view overlooking the Peters Creek floodplain surrounded by spectacular forested wetland communities of mature cypress and hardwoods. We have it all for the outdoor enthusiast.