Water-Related News

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive reopens after completion of hurricane repairs

More than seven miles of additional trails to reopen Feb. 2 at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

PALM BAY — The St. Johns River Water Management District is reopening seven and a half miles of additional trails, including the western end of the Loop Trail on Feb. 2.

A four-mile section of the Loop Trail between Lake Level Canal and the Apopka Beauclair Canal will reopen on February 2 (shown in Orange). An additional three and a half miles of minor trails will be used to create a seven-mile long loop that begins at the North Shore Trailhead. Those trails link up with the non-motorized trails west of the Apopka Beauclair Canal that were opened previously.

Other portions of the Loop Trail require more extensive earthwork. Sections of the Loop Trail between Lake Level Canal and Magnolia Park are likely to remain closed for months while the levees on which the trail is located are actually raised to help manage future storms.

The district has conducted extensive repairs to the wildlife drive following flooding damage caused by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The wildlife drive was closed while eroded areas were filled and the drive was graded. Sections of the drive were reopened in December but some areas remained 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.