MAITLAND, Fla., Feb. 23, 2017 -- Visitors and outdoor enthusiasts have a new way to explore the Lake Apopka North Shore. Representatives from several community organizations and governments joined the St. Johns River Water Management District Thursday to celebrate the opening of a new recreational facilities at Lake Apopka North Shore.
"With improvements in water quality and the return of submerged aquatic vegetation, visitors are increasingly seeking recreational opportunities at Lake Apopka," said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. "Partnerships are critical when it comes to restoration and recreation, and we're proud to work with Lake County to expand access to Lake Apopka."
"We've made great progress on the restoration of Lake Apopka, and the area continues to be valued by a community who enjoys recreation that's compatible with conservation," said district Governing Board Chairman John Miklos. "I can't think of a better area for this collection of facilities."
"Part of the district's mission is to protect and improve water quality - and I'm excited to say we are seeing water quality improvements in Lake Apopka," said district Governing Board member Chuck Drake. "Collaboration is critical. We are grateful to partner with Lake County and other groups, knowing that we will come together to find efficient solutions that benefit not only the land, but also the community."
"Thanks to the hard work and dedication of St. Johns River Water Management District, and the improvements Lake County has made, we are proud to be able to provide this boat ramp for residents and tourists to use seven days a week," said Lake County Commissioner Wendy Breeden. "Here, visitors can launch their boat or kayak using the new ADA-complaint ramp, utilize our brand new restrooms, park their cars and trailers, and enjoy beautiful landscaping, which includes 1,000 bald cypress trees planted by Keep Lake Beautiful, in partnership with the district and Cherry Lake Tree Farm."
The district partnered with Lake County to create the new recreational area, featuring an wheelchair accessible kayak launch and boat ramp as well as new parking, restroom and picnic facilities. An existing boat ramp, as well as increased public interest in recreation on the property, made the area a desirable location for new facilities. The area is adjacent to an existing trailhead and all of the facilities, including the dock and kayak launch, are wheelchair accessible.
A ribbon cutting brought together leadership from the district and Lake County to celebrate the collaboration. Several community groups also attended the event.
Situated on the northern shore of Lake Apopka, the district's 20,000-acre Lake Apopka North Shore has become popular with outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to the newly opened facilities, the area also offers more than 20 miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as an 11-mile wildlife drive.
Development of the new facilities started in 2015 with dredging of the McDonald and Apopka-Beauclair canals. The total project cost was $1.26 million.