From the St. Johns River Water Management District
The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is reopening to vehicular access on Friday, June 12, with updated hours and additional measures to keep both guests and wildlife safe.
People driving through are asked to remain in their vehicles. The North Shore property and trails continue to be open to hikers and bicyclists.
The drive will be open to vehicles Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays. The Lust Road gate will open at 7 a.m. and will close at 3 p.m. All vehicles must exit the drive by 5 p.m. This will allow time for restroom facilities to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized at the end of each day.
Restrooms will be available for emergency use. Visitors are strongly encouraged to bring their own drinking water, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes as there is no running water available. The one-way drive can take up to three hours to complete.
The district is asking that visitors stay in their vehicles to avoid group gatherings and keep traffic through the drive flowing efficiently. Please be courteous and allow others the opportunity to enjoy the sights by not lingering along the drive.
The district may limit capacity on the drive to avoid congestion or overcrowding.
The Lake Apopka North Shore is the most visited district property. Its abundant wildlife viewing and extraordinary bird-watching opportunities attracted more than 122,000 visitors to the wildlife drive in 2019.
The bird list at the 20,000-acre Lake Apopka North Shore includes 362 species and continues to grow. Other wildlife routinely seen include many American alligators, bobcats, otters, raccoons, armadillos and coyotes.
To learn about the district’s work to restore the lake and its wetlands, listen to our audio tour. In addition to wildlife, visitors returning to the drive may see construction crews and equipment, as this is an active water quality restoration area and projects are under way. In fact, scheduled road improvements were accelerated during the absence of vehicles from the drive.
For recreational announcements, visit www.sjrwmd.com/lands/recreation/announcements/.
St. Johns River Water Management District staff are committed to ensuring the sustainable use and protection of water resources for the benefit of the people of the district and the state of Florida. The St. Johns River Water Management District is one of five districts in Florida managing groundwater and surface water supplies in the state. The district encompasses all or part of 18 northeast and east-central Florida counties. District headquarters are in Palatka, and staff also are available to serve the public at service centers in Maitland, Jacksonville and Palm Bay.