The District-managed recreation program includes approximately 225,000 acres of lands consisting of 472 miles of trails, 9 primitive campgrounds, 10 backcountry campsites and 12 equestrian campgrounds. Recreation uses include hiking, biking, horseback riding, birding, hunting, picnicking, camping, fishing and nature study/wildlife viewing.
A Recreation Ad Hoc Committee, made up of four Governing Board members, was appointed to provide guidance to staff and review future staff recommendations. District staff proposes using the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) and other recreation evaluation methods as a basis to determine whether the District’s recreation program is in line with current recreation trends within its 16-county region.
The SCORP has been a part of the outdoor recreation planning process in Florida for nearly 50 years and is updated every five years. Its purpose is to outline a five-year plan that establishes a framework for statewide outdoor recreation planning. The process used to update the SCORP involves conducting a broad inventory of recreation opportunities throughout the state to identify trends and address gaps in service.
At the Committee’s May 30 meeting, approval was given to divide the District into four recreation planning regions: Northern, Tampa Bay, Heartland and Southern. Staff will then initiate a review of the SCORP and Florida Outdoor Recreation Inventory data for use in the recreation evaluation. This review will provide a preliminary inventory of available resource-based recreation opportunities, levels of service for each recreation use, and information on current and projected recreation trends and demands. In addition to this initial review, further evaluation of the type and extent of resource-based recreation opportunities provided at both the regional and property level will be conducted to identify potential needs or changes to specific recreation uses.
The preliminary evaluation findings for each planning region will be presented at each of the four public information meetings. The meetings will provide the public an opportunity to review the results and provide input. The preliminary findings will also be posted on this webpage for review in advance of the meetings. Comment forms and a recreation survey will be available at the public information meetings. During the comment period, comments also will be accepted on this webpage.
Regional and specific use analyses, along with input received via Committee meetings, public information meetings and this webpage, will be used to develop preliminary recommendations on District-managed recreational opportunities. These preliminary recommendations will then be provided to the Recreation Ad Hoc Committee for consideration. Final recommendations from the Committee will be forwarded to the District’s Governing Board for final review and approval.
View the map of Districtwide recreation lands under evaluation.
For more information, contact Carmen Sanders, Land Management Section manager, at (352) 796-7211, ext. 4477.