DEP Recognizes Winter Garden as Florida’s 10th Trail Town

Urban Designer Kelly Carson with Brian Smith, Vice Chair, FL Greenways and Trails Council, and Becky Afonso, Chair of the Council

Winter Garden, Fla. --The City of Winter Garden has been recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as Florida’s 10th and newest trail town.

The Office of Greenways and Trails, a component of the DEP's Florida State Parks system, developed the Trail Town program in 2018 to recognize communities based on accessibility, amenities, safety, and signage, and proximity to businesses.

“In Florida, participating in outdoor recreation is a way of life,” said Florida State Parks Director Eric Draper. “Trail Towns not only provide trail users with goods and services, but also promote healthy lifestyles. It’s very exciting to see the Trail Town program gaining such momentum.”

The City of Winter Garden, incorporated in 1908, has a population of nearly 47,500 and an employment base of 20,000. Located on the southern shore of Lake Apopka, 20 minutes west of Orlando, Winter Garden has been named one of the most desirable places to live in Central Florida due to its historical, cultural and natural assets.

The Historic Downtown of Winter Garden, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, is a favorite destination for West Orange residents and those traveling the award-winning West Orange Trail. The West Orange Trail links cyclists, joggers and pedestrians to the center of downtown, which includes a revitalized business and arts district. Additionally, the trail will also soon be linked to the 250 mile Coast to Coast Connector Trail, a paved bike trail route between St. Petersburg and Titusville.

“What struck me right away was the scenic quality of the West Orange Trail through Winter Garden and the town’s dedication to providing an enjoyable experience for trail users,” said Office of Greenways and Trails Planner Donald Morgan, who assisted with the trail town designation process.  “With a myriad of options for dining, lodging, recreation and entertainment, Winter Garden is a quintessential trail town and is certainly a stop that trail users do not want to bypass.”

 “The West Orange Trail has been very successful, with over one million users annually and growing every year.  Now, the challenge is creating linkages allowing more trail access and ensuring the safety of those that use it,” said Winter Garden City Manager Mike Bollhoefer.

About Florida State Parks, Greenways and Trails

The Florida Park Service is the proud recipient of three National Gold Medals for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, making Florida America’s first fourth-time Gold Medal winner. The awards were received in 1999, 2005, 2013 and 2019 from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association.

Florida’s 175 state parks, trails and historic sites inspire residents and visitors with recreation opportunities and scenic beauty that help strengthen families, educate children, expand local economies and foster community pride. With nearly 800,000 acres, 100 miles of beaches and more than 1,500 miles of multi-use trails, residents and visitors should plan to visit soon and often to enjoy Florida’s natural treasures. Download the Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger® mobile app, available on iTunes and Android Market, to plan your trip and enhance your experience. For more information, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org

 

Image of Winter Garden during the day.

About the City of Winter Garden

The City of Winter Garden is a municipality with a city population of 47,245 and an employment base of 20,000 that was incorporated in 1908.  The City of Winter Garden is located on the southern shore of Lake Apopka, 20 minutes west of Orlando in West Orange County. Winter Garden is considered one of the most desirable places to live in Central Florida because it offers a unique quality of life.  In 2019, Winter Garden was ranked by Money Magazine as one of the top ten cities to live. The City of Winter Garden City Hall is located at 300 W. Plant Street, Winter Garden, FL 34787. To learn more about the City of Winter Garden, please visit www.cwgdn.com or call 407.656.4111

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