New Park Site on Lake Toho (FL)

Kissimmee, 4/8/02 – A 12-acre site formerly known as Scotty’s Landing has been permanently protected by the Trust for Public Land and Osceola County. The site, which is located next to Richardson’s Fish Camp, will become a lakefront park and boating/fishing marina. It was purchased by TPL, and conveyed to the county on March 22.

Before the Trust for Public Land purchased the property, it was slated for development of a 60-unit gated multifamily housing development with private boat slips. Now that the site is in public ownership, plans are to develop the permitted boat slips for much-needed public access to the birding, boating, and fishing on Lake Tohopekaliga, a state-designated Fish Management Area and one of the premiere bass-fishing venues in the country. Nature trails and picnic grounds will be developed among the historic live oak hammocks and mature cypress trees located on the property.

“By preserving this parcel, residents and visitors will be able to enjoy a beautiful new park as well as an additional access point to the lake, as opposed to covering the property up with houses,” said Chuck Dunnick, Osceola County Commissioner.

This is TPL’s third project in Osceola County in the past three years. The organization also was involved in the purchase and subsequent conveyance to the state and Osceola County of Makinson and Paradise Islands, the only two developable islands in Lake Toho. A community event celebrating the islands’ preservation drew more than 200 people last November. The Paradise and Makinson Island properties also included sites on shore; this new acquisition is directly adjacent to the shore property included with the purchase of Paradise Island.

“Purchase of this property will provide many opportunities, but none more important than the chance to see a great sunset over Lake Tohopekaliga,” said Bob Guido, TPL project manager for the site.

About TPL: Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization working exclusively to protect land for human enjoyment and well-being. TPL helps conserve land for recreation and spiritual nourishment and to improve the health and quality of life of American communities. Operating in Florida since 1975, TPL has helped save more than 240 sites as community parks, waterfronts, historic sites, greenways and trails. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity for the second year in a row, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs.