PRCA News

Sweetwater Wetlands Park is Open to Public on Saturdays & Sundays

5/7/2015

The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (PRCA) Department is happy to announce that Sweetwater Wetlands Park, formerly known as the Paynes Prairie Sheetflow Restoration Project, is now open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 7 a.m. to sunset. The entry fee is $5 per vehicle or $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists. The park is located at 325 SW Williston Road. For directions, a map can be viewed at https://goo.gl/maps/bK9YN.

Sweetwater Wetlands Park is not only a place to connect with nature, it is a way to protect our environment. The park, which consists of more than 125 acres of wetlands and ponds, was created to improve the water quality of wetlands in Paynes Prairie and the Floridan Aquifer. This unique park features more than 3.5 miles of trails and boardwalks that overlook a thriving created wetlands environment on the north side of the Paynes Prairie State Preserve. “Visitors will find a wide variety of native plants, birds, butterflies, alligators and even the occasional Florida cracker horse” said Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Steve Phillips, "We expect this park to quickly become one of the most popular parks in the city, as well as the region!”

In 2009, the Paynes Prairie Sheetflow Restoration Project began as a way to reduce pollution to Alachua Sink by restoring the prairie's natural sheetflow and creating a wetland habitat. The final goal was to create an environmentally-friendly park, filled with plants and animals that allows people to connect with and learn about nature. Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) and the City of Gainesville Department of Public Works completed the wetlands in 2015, and the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (PRCA) Department maintains and operates the trails and public space.

For more information, please contact Linda Demetropoulos, nature operations manager, at demetropls@cityofgainesville.org or 352-393-8445. For more information on the park and its development, please visit www.sweetwaterwetlands.org.

 



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