PALATKA, Fla., Sept. 4, 2020 — The eagerly anticipated new trailhead, picnic area and expanded parking area for the Bayard Conservation Area on State Road 16 in Clay County is now open, the St. Johns River Water Management District announced today.
“It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for — the grand opening of our new parking and picnic areas and trailhead at Bayard Conservation Area,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “We thank the First Coast Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen (BCH) of America and Eagle Scout Dane McGraw of St. Johns for their hard work, energy and enthusiasm as they partnered with District staff in a wonderful makeover of the picnic area.”
BCH and McGraw worked with North Region Land Manager Heather Venter and her team to give the new recreational area native plants, hitching posts and picnic tables.
The new parking area can be accessed from S.R. 16, just south of the old parking area, which is slated for demolition. The relocation of the S.R. 16 parking area is due to the extension of the First Coast Expressway. The Florida Department of Transportation now owns the road frontage at Bayard Conservation Area at S.R. 16.
An additional parking area is located on County Road 226.
Bayard Conservation Area consists of more than 10,000 acres located along the western bank of the St. Johns River. The property features diverse natural systems that provide habitat and feeding areas for a variety of species, including gopher tortoise, bald eagle, little blue heron, deer and woodland birds.
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