INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Thanks to the generous support of its members, Indian River Land Trust recently acquired two critical pieces of land to establish a new trail project along the Indian River Lagoon in Winter Beach.
In its first land acquisition project since McKee Botanical Garden, the Land Trust purchased a 1.6-acre parcel of native oaks for the gateway to a one mile trail loop through a variety of native landscapes.
A small parking area and trailhead will lead trail users onto existing public, but previously inaccessible, land to a second 6.7-acre parcel the organization purchased in December. This parcel contains a quarter-mile boardwalk through a native mangrove swamp, and a dock extending into the Indian River Lagoon that will allow walkers, bird watchers and others a quiet scenic stroll in a natural setting.
Protection of the Indian River Lagoon waterfront lands, a top priority of the Land Trust, is essential because they are an important nursery for spawning and growth of native fish species. They also provide an important natural protection during tropical storms to prevent erosion and destruction of shoreline and nearby structures; and they harbor a large variety of native plants and wildlife important for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Additionally, protecting this land from development also preserves residents’ pristine views of the lagoon.
The Land Trust is working closely with the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Florida Inland Navigation District, owners of the adjoining parcels – and the Indian River Mosquito Control District has agreed to assist the Land Trust in maintaining the trails and boardwalks. Pickering Surveyors and Knight, McGuire & Associates provided pro bono surveying and engineering assistance.
Since 1990, the Indian River Land Trust has been protecting environmentally important lands, and conserving wildlife habitats and water quality in our community. For more information, call (772) 794-0701 or visit www.irlt.org.