Lake Hancock Trail System Expansion Will Be Topic Of Meeting Jan. 23

County park officials will make a brief presentation from 2:30 to 3 p.m. next Saturday at a public meeting at the large picnic pavilion at Circle B Bar Reserve.

The trail system at Circle B connects to the Fort Fraser Trail, which runs along an abandoned rail corridor between Bartow and the outskirts of Lakeland.

The County Commission recently accepted the donation of easements to extend the trail system westward on land south of Edgewood Drive to connect to Lakeland Highlands Road . That extension, which has to be engineering and constructed before it becomes a functional link, will provide a connection to Lakeland’s system of bicycle and pedestrian trails.

Meanwhile, the Panther Point Trail, which begins at the Marshall Hampton Reserve across Lake Hancock from Circle B and runs along the lake’s eastern shore, will eventually be expanded to connect to the Fort Fraser Trail just north of Bartow via property managed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Swiftmud officials have installed locks on the southern end of the current trail to prevent trail users from accessing the extended trail system until it is officially open.

One pending issue causing the delay in opening the final leg of the trail, according to Polk County officials, is the expected need to install a security fence around the equipment atop the structure that controls water flow from Lake Hancock via Saddle Creek to the Peace River.

Farther in the future there has been discussion of creating some kind of boardwalk or trail system though the swamp bordering the northern shore of Lake Hancock to connect Marshall Hampton Reserve and Circle B.

Circle B Bar Reserve is located at 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland.

Posted in Group Conservation Issues.