District celebrates new trail in Lake County with ribbon cutting

MAITLAND, Fla., April 7, 2016 — Representatives from local and state governments joined today to celebrate the opening of a new segment of recreational trail in Lake County. The St. Johns River Water Management District partnered with Lake County to build the new 2.0-mile trail connection that joins the Green Mountain Scenic Overlook and Trailhead with the Apopka Loop Trail and provides expanded opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking and bicycling.

The extension links Lake County’s trail with the district’s 18-mile Apopka Loop Trail and provides access to the western edge of the Lake Apopka North Shore, allowing visitors to traverse a network of wetlands, levees and canals. A ribbon cutting earlier today brought together leadership from the district and Lake County to celebrate the collaboration. Several community groups also attended the event.

“It’s only through creative collaboration that we are able to provide effective solutions that support our greater vision and mission,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “I applaud Lake County as well as the efforts of our staff to bring this project to fruition.”

“The focus of our work includes protecting Florida’s natural resources and ensuring sustainable use of water,” said Governing Board Secretary Chuck Drake. “Yet through our efforts to meet multiple core missions with each project, we are also able to provide unique recreational opportunities like this, that engage the community in our very important mission.”

“This site is an important eco and sports tourism destination for Lake County, particularly now that athletes starting their training at the Green Mountain Scenic Overlook can seamlessly connect to the Lake Apopka Loop Trail and run or bike all the way to Magnolia Park via the north shore of beautiful Lake Apopka,”said Lake County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Sean Parks. “Lake County is thrilled to have partnered with the St. Johns River Water Management District in making this possible for both local residents and visitors alike.”

Situated on the northern shore of Lake Apopka, development of the Lake Apopka Loop Trail began with 6.3-miles of recreation trail that allowed visitors to traverse a unique landscape of levees, canals and wetlands. With this newest extension, the loop trail now encompasses 18 miles of trails across district property.