MAITLAND, Fla., Dec. 22, 2017 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is reopening portions of the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive for regular operating hours Dec. 22.
“Our team has worked hard for several weeks to repair what the hurricane took only hours to damage, and we’re excited to reopen this area to the public,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “While work remains, we are proud of the drive’s success and know it is a valuable educational opportunity for residents and visitors alike.”
The wildlife drive, like many other trails on the property, required repairs after experiencing damage due to Hurricane Irma. After water levels receded, the district filled potholes and regraded roads that had been saturated by the storm.
To ensure public safety, Interceptor Road, a portion of Laughlin Road, and the lakeside road will remain closed for additional repairs. Visitors are asked to follow directional signs and marked detours.
Nonmotorized trails located west of the Apopka-Beauclair Canal are also open. These trails are accessible from the Green Mountain Trailhead, Clay Island Trailhead and North Shore Trailhead (via the McDonald Canal Boat Ramp). Nonmotorized trails east of the Apopka-Beauclair Canal remain closed.
Housed within the district’s 20,000-acre Lake Apopka North Shore restoration area, the wildlife drive opened in May 2015. Its success is attributed to not only housing a diverse bird population but also providing unprecedented access to the unique area.
The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is open year-round between sunrise and sunset on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays, including Christmas Day. There is no cost to visit the wildlife drive.
Trail guides, maps and more information about recreational opportunities on lands owned and managed by the district are available at www.sjrwmd.com/lands/recreation.