Trails Community: Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton/Sarasota, Florida
Lakewood Ranch is one of three communities from across the nation selected to serve as fitting models for excellence in trails within a private development. The first ever American Trails Developer Awards were presented at the 2008 National Trails Symposium in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc.
Lakewood Ranch was one of three communities recognized with the first ever American Trails Developer Award during the National Trails Awards Ceremony at the Nov. 17, 19th National Trails Symposium in Little Rock, Ark. American Trails has developed this one-of-a-kind comprehensive national award program to recognize quality, well-designed multi-use trails systems that are integrated into private developments.
Lakewood Ranch includes a master planned trails system with more than 150 miles of both paved and nature trails, approximately 685 acres of conservation areas and 132 acres of nature parks that connect the communities. The trails system within the 8,500-acre development will ultimately connect to the public trails system via a regional trail corridor.
"We see an opportunity to plan, in the future, a north-south trail from SMR’s northernmost boundary in Manatee County to the southernmost boundary in Sarasota County," said Todd Pokrywa, vice president of planning, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch (SMR). "Eventually this could connect to planned respective County trail systems, which could, in turn, connect Lake Manatee to Myakka River State Park and beyond."
East-west and north-south trail systems are planned in future Villages such as Lakewood Centre in Manatee County and the Villages of Lakewood Ranch South in Sarasota County as part of the Sarasota 2050 Plan. “These future plans have the potential to provide unparalleled educational and learning resource in the region, close enough to facilitate field trips for students in both the Manatee and Sarasota County School Districts “Pokrywa said.
The American Trails Developer Award program award was established by American Trails to highlight the important role of developers as partners in providing access to trails from the doorsteps of American homes. Trails are increasingly popular within planned developments. In a recent Lakewood Ranch resident survey, the trails and sidewalks were cited as the community’s top amenity.
"Lakewood Ranch is more than fit to serve as a model for excellence in trails for other communities nationwide," said Jim Wood, assistant director for Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways & Trails and Secretary of the Executive Board of American Trails.
"Given the community’s scale, a major criteria that made the selection of Lakewood Ranch so definitive was the willingness of SMR to consider future connections into a broader regional trails system and to allow the general public to use the internal Lakewood Ranch trails system."
The extensive pedestrian system starts with four-foot sidewalks in each neighborhood which link to five, eight, and 12-foot sidewalks along throughways and common areas. Soft trails of mulch or grass leading to the nature areas, waterways, lakes and preserves connect to the sidewalk system. Special features such as wooden bridges and educational signage enhance the trails making every outing a fun as well as healthy experience.
For more information:
For more information on Lakewood Ranch, visit www.lakewoodranch.com.
Leah Blair, (941) 757-1546
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Updated March 11, 2009