Manatee County High Point Trip Report

Date: September 12, 2002
Author: Larry Lawton

I drove out to the HP of Manatee after making a very 'dumb' error the previous day. We drove out to see the HP of Manatee County but due to my own error, we took the wrong road and even thought we had been to the right place. After getting back home, I discovered my error the next day and again drove out to the correct site of the HP of Manatee County!

The coordinates on the topographic map is at (27.6399° N, 82.0616° W) - DUETTE NE quad, where there is a benchmark on Route 37 in the far northeast corner of Manatee County. The elevation at this point is 136 feet above sea level, within a large 135' contour that spans at least two square miles. When I drove out to the correct site, Route 37 is surrounded by swamp and a phosphate mine to the northwest side of the road near the county line, although the areas adjacent to the road are undisturbed. I found the orange plastic stake in the ground where nearby the BM is supposed to be, but I was unable to locate the concrete marker itself. Due to the recent heavy rains, the area was extremely swampy, although bushwhacking through the brush was possible not far from the road. There did not appear to be any natural areas in the vicinity that were higher than at the point where the BM was located.

The directions to the site are as follows: From Parrish, FL (Parrish is a small town at the junction of US 301 and FL Routes 675 & FL Route 62, which is easily accessible from I-75), take Florida State Route 62 east from Parrish for 20 miles. The junction with Florida Route 39 is at a small hamlet called Duette, and there is a blinking yellow/red light at the intersection as well as a new convenience store & gas station. Route 37 is two miles further east of this light, where at this light I had earlier mistaken to turn, so don't make the turn at the intersection with the yellow/red blinking light! Continue east for two miles of the intersection with Route 39. Turn left off of Route 62 onto Route 37 and to due northeast for about 4.5 miles. At a point where four counties meet at one corner, this is where Route 37 intersects them all -- Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk, and Hardee Counties), the sign at the county line is marked. If you are driving from Polk County, in the opposite direction on Route 37, the HP of Manatee County is in the 'area' south of this line, and the BM is about a half-mile south of the border -- according to the topo map.

The entire area is flat, with some marsh areas on both sides of the road beyond the fences. Northwest of the road are large excavations, probably for phosphate mining, and the mining operations has a berm about 40 feet high, easily seen from the road. The mining operations company has an entrance at the county line one half of a mile northeast of the BM. There are plenty of areas to park alongside the road, although the shoulder is not very wide, but grassy. On wet days, don't bring a car as the shoulder can be swampy and soft when wet.