Sunnyhill Restoration Area


This 7,748 acres of land was purchased to restore wetland functions on more than 2,800 acres of the historic Ocklawaha River floodplain. In 2008, the St. Johns River Water Management District completed several water control structures and levee projects to allow better long-term management of water levels on the property, which also improves wildlife habitat and water quality, and provides limited flood storage. An old farmhouse, known as the Blue House, was constructed in the 1930s and is still found on the property. In 2016, the district opened the South Tract, opening an additional 3,400 acres to the public, with seven miles of new hiking and biking trails and additional parking. Originally purchased as a conservation easement in 2004, the South Tract was transferred to district ownership through a life estate clause.

Wildlife viewing

Please respect Florida’s wildlife and use caution while visiting district lands. These are wild animals. For your safety, do not approach or feed any wild animal. All kinds of wading birds feed in the marshes, including glossy and white ibis, little blue and tri-colored herons, and great and snowy egrets. Thousands of sandhill cranes spend the winter in the Ocklawaha River Basin. Red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks, osprey and three owl species live here year-round. Other animal species, including black bear, river otter and bobcat, are returning to the area as restoration proceeds.

Recreational activities
  1. Hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, bicycling, picnicking and primitive camping.
  2. Bank fishing is available at the canal at the western edge of the property.

The entrance for the Blue House and for tours is on the north side of CR 42, 5.9 miles east of Weirsdale. Two parking areas are along the west side of Southeast 182nd Avenue Road. Boat ramps at Moss Bluff and CR 42 provide access along the western river boundary.