MAITLAND, Fla., Sept. 28, 2016 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is launching an audio guide for visitors to its Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. The audio guide, which can be streamed through mobile devices, provides visitors with a narrative on the area’s history, wildlife and district-led restoration efforts.
“The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive was designed for recreational use that is also compatible with water conservation,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “It’s exciting to share with visitors how we’re improving water quality and fostering the restoration of a wetlands and wildlife habitat.”
By accessing www.sjrwmd.com/LANS, visitors to the 11-mile, one-way wildlife drive can stream the story of the Lake Apopka North Shore, which spans 20,000 acres. The audio guide includes 11 stops along the drive. Numbered signs correspond with audio files and there are several vehicle pullovers, which provide opportunities for stopping.
In addition to streaming the audio guide, visitors can download a property map, a text version of the audio guide and other information about the property. An interactive wildlife drive map and educational video will be available in late 2016.
Development of an audio guide was derived from the overwhelming popularity of the area. Sixteen months after it opened, more than 81,000 visitors have experienced the wildlife drive, which traverses a network of wetlands, levees and canals, providing a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities.
Heightened community interest in the Lake Apopka North Shore is attributed to not only the area’s diverse bird population but also the trails that provide unprecedented access to the area for activities such as hiking and bicycling. Once farmed land, the area was acquired by the district between 1988 and 2001 with the goal of reducing discharges of excessive nutrients to Lake Apopka while at the same time providing critical wetland functions.
The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is open year-round between sunrise and sunset on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays. There is no cost to visit the wildlife drive. More information about recreational opportunities on lands owned and managed by the district are available at www.sjrwmd.com/recreation.