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April 26, 2007

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing board approved a joint land management plan with Sarasota County for the 6,439-acre Deer Prairie Creek Preserve, which will allow for public access to the preserve.

The preserve is in southeast Sarasota County within the Myakka River watershed. It is bordered by the Myakka River on the west, I-75 to the north and U.S. 41 to the south. The District and the county jointly purchased the land in April 2000.

The land management plan allows for public access to the preserve so people can participate in low-impact recreation such as hiking, horseback riding and kayaking.

Currently, the public can walk into the preserve at the south entrance off U.S. 41, but there is not a parking area. The public will be able to access the property through a north entrance located off Forbes Trail after a parking area is complete in late July.

The plan also outlines habitat restoration plans for the preserve, which includes conducting controlled burns, removing invasive species and restoring scrub habitat.

The District and Sarasota County will carry out the land management plan together through 2016. At that time, the plan will be re-evaluated.

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