Mount Dora's Parks & Recreation Director Roy Hughes at a portion of the newly improved Palm Island Boardwalk.
One of Central Florida’s best nature walks will reopen to the public on Saturday, July 15. The final phase of boardwalk improvements at Palm Island Park, located on Mount Dora’s lakefront, started in March and required closing the trails and the island to visitors.
“It completes the full boardwalk restoration that we started several years ago and replaced a 25-year-old boardwalk.” said Roy Hughes, Mount Dora’s Director of Parks and Recreation, regarding the improvements. “This new boardwalk is expected to last at least 50 years or longer.”
Palm Island Park is located at the end of Liberty Avenue at Tremain Street near the lighthouse on Lake Dora. The eight-acre natural preservation area includes picnic pavilions, trails and a wooden boardwalk winding through a dense woods. The lush native vegetation and moss-draped oaks transport visitors back to a serene Old Florida.
The park provides expansive views of Lake Dora and its natural habitat for Florida wildlife including ospreys, alligators, bald eagles, great blue herons, rabbits, egrets, anhingas and more.
The newly improved section of boardwalk is now wider and provides more seating along the way for visitors to pause to enjoy the scenery. A pavilion was also added which increases the park’s covered areas for picnics, reading and yoga.
One of the priorities during the improvement process was to preserve the park’s trees and natural environment. As a result, the path of the elevated boardwalk meanders around large native bald cypress, live oaks, palms and shrubs. Native plants disturbed by construction will be replaced in the coming weeks and are expected to fill in by the end of summer.
Hughes considers himself fortunate to have overseen the improvements to one of Mount Dora’s crown jewels, which was in disrepair when he began working with the city. Although he’s proud of this legacy, Hughes is quick to point out that the project had many passionate supporters over the years, including former City Councilman Michael Tedder who passed away last year. The boardwalk is located at 411 N. Tremain Street, It will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 15 and then open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Arrangements can be made for intimate weddings at the park by contacting Mount Dora Parks and Recreation Department. Click here for more photos of Palm Island Boardwalk.