Sweetwater earns Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail designation

Published on November 08, 2023


The City of Gainesville’s Sweetwater Wetlands Park has earned the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail site designation from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Neighbors are invited to celebrate the new distinction during a day of activities at the municipal park.

Where: Sweetwater Wetlands Park, 325 SW Williston Road, Gainesville

When: Friday, Nov. 10
8-10:30 a.m. – Alachua Audubon guided bird walk
10:30-11 a.m. – official sign unveiling
11 a.m.-1 p.m. – guided park tours

Sweetwater Wetlands Park is one of 14 newly selected sites across the state to earn the Birding Trail designation since the FWC reopened the highly competitive application process this year for only the third time in more than two decades.

Event attendees are invited to participate in a guided bird walk led by Alachua Audubon before the unveiling of the official Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail sign at the municipal park’s entrance. Afterward, the city’s park rangers will offer guided tours of the park on foot, as well as via tram. (Mobility tours will be available on a first come, first served basis.)

The FWC also will launch the Alachua County Birding Trail Challenge, a phone-based scavenger hunt that runs through Sunday, Nov. 19. (Download the Goosechase app, enter “3GV774,” and visit area Birding Trail locations before the deadline to earn points for chances to win prizes.)

Sweetwater Wetlands Park is home to rare and endangered wildlife including native mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and more than 250 species of birds. The municipal park is also known for its manmade treatment system that removes excess nutrients from the 10 million gallons of water flowing through the wetlands each day into Paynes Prairie and, ultimately, into the Floridan Aquifer.

The event is free and open to the public with a $5 park admission fee per vehicle.