The irony is beyond comprehension. When I first hiked Split Oak WEA in 2001 while working on the first edition of “50 Hikes in Central Florida,” it was delightful to learn that it had been set aside as mitigation for ongoing development around Narcoosee so sandhill cranes would still have habitat. Adjoining popular Moss Park in Orange County, it’s an expansive place to roam between sparkling lakes and bayhead swamps, with scrub and prairies that birds love so.
Unfortunately, promises made are NOT promises kept when it comes to public land. Today, Split Oak Conservation Area is an island of wild surrounded by a sea of development. And it’s that very fact – that it’s an island of wild, undeveloped wildlife habitat – that puts it at risk.
I received the message below from a local group who is drumming up support to Save Split Oak. Please join in and attend the public meeting if you can. Definitely voice your opinion. Setting aside land for wildlife does NOT mean setting it aside for road building. Thank you!
Help Save Split Oak Forest!
IMPORTANT CFX Expressway Meeting
Thursday October 5th 5:30-7:30pm
Lake Nona High School Gymnasium
12500 Narcoossee Rd, Orlando, FL 32832
Stop by anytime during the meeting to see the route options and Fill Out A Comment Form
NOTE – all 3 options cut through Split Oak Forrest.
On your comment card, please request that they
Move the Expressway OUT of SPLIT OAK FOREST!
Help spread the word about this meeting.
ATTENDANCE is EXTEMELY IMPORTANT!
Unfortunately the football game was rescheduled (by Irma) to the same night, but there will be a special parking area reserved for those attending the meeting. PLEASE Make an Effort to Stop By and fill out a Comment Card!
Friends of Split Oak will be outside the gym handing out stickers like the one below for you to wear at the meeting. So even if you don’t talk to anyone – the representatives will see your sticker and know you want to preserve Split Oak!
Split Oak Forest is an 1,800 acre natural park in the Lake Nona area adjacent to Moss Park and part of a wildlife corridor running through the center of the state. Split Oak was acquired in 1994 with funds received through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Mitigation Park Program. Mitigation banking is the preservation, and restoration of a wetland, stream, or habitat conservation area which compensates for developers that eliminate habitat for an endangered or threatened species, then they pay fees that are used to buy and manage high quality habitat elsewhere. This is one of the many reasons that this is so wrong to run a 4 – 6 lane expressway through this park and then mitigate the mitigation land!
Key leaders from Audubon, Sierra Club, Native Plant Society, League of Women Voters, Lake Mary Jane Alliance and many others have joined the Friends of Split Oak Coalition to try to stop plans to run the Osceola Parkway Extension through the center of Split Oak Forrest. This community meeting will show plans for the 4 sections of the parkway, and CFX Consulting firm representatives will be available to explain and answer questions and listen to your comments. A power-point presentation will play during the event with more information. Additional information can be found on the Expressway Authority
To see the routes, go to the link on the right hand side about half way down called “Osceola Parkway Extension Environmental Board Sept-Oct 2017” Zoom in to see the Scrub Jay area. The noise from the traffic will be enough to scare off the very rare community of timid Florida Scrub Jays that are nesting in the path of 2 of the proposed routes and very close to the 3rd option. Scrub Jay Island (as it is now known) is one of the only known Scrub Jay communities in all of Orange and Osceola Counties!
Want to hike these beautiful lands? This park has numerous hiking trails where you can view many rare and endangered animals and plants, and keep an eye out for gopher tortoises since this is one of the relocation sites. Go to the Facebook site for Friends of Split Oak and get the details on 3 free guided hikes for the month of October!
Thanks for helping to Move the Expressway Out of Split Oak!