5472 Kenisco Road, Venice
6200 Osprey Road, Venice
The South Venice Lemon Bay Preserve comprise 222 acres of protected land along Lemon Bay. This land has been acquired incrementally since 1999 through both the county’s one percent sales tax for infrastructure and the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program. Florida Communities Trust, a state program, awarded 40 percent of the acquisition costs of a 20-acre tract within the Protection Priority site.
The preserve is nestled in the densely packed suburb of south Venice, is a refuge for several protected animals and plants. This preserve contains a variety of coastal habitats including tidal swamp, tidal marsh, coastal hammock and upland communities such as mesic and scrubby flatwoods.
The preserve supports a variety of species such as gopher tortoise, Florida scrub-jay, bald eagle, river otter and an assortment of snakes, including the eastern coachwhip. A variety of plants are also represented, specifically, visitors may see various mangroves, cord grasses, oak species, lupine, palafox, coontie and Curtis’s milkweed. Boardwalks afford visitors access across the recreated and restored wetland slough.
- The preserve has nearly eight miles of hiking trails, including the 1.6 mile long scenic marked trail.
- The hiking trails are unpaved but accessible for most visitors and include two boardwalks.
- Be prepared for Florida’s often extreme outdoor conditions by bringing water, sun block, a rain jacket, appropriate clothing, insect repellent and sturdy shoes.
- Some trails may flood after heavy rainfall.
- The preserve has parking at 6200 Osprey Road, Venice to access the Southern section along road shoulders and limited parking at Kenesco Road.
- The preserve is accessible via walk-thru gates near three intersections (Ocelot and Phorus roads, Macon and Osprey roads, and Kenisco and Euclid roads).
For more information about the South Venice Lemon Bay Preserve, call 941-861-5000 and ask for Natural Resources.