Lovers of PEAR Park will need to use an alternative parking lot during a road project at the site.
University Avenue, the road servicing PEAR Park’s Wildlife Conservation Area and Nature Center at 4800 University Ave., Leesburg, will be closed for repaving for 60 days beginning Monday, April 23. During this time, the road, parking lot, and storage building areas will be inaccessible. Instead, visitors should park to the east of the Community Gardens at the PEAR Park Gateway, 26701 U.S. Highway 27, a news release states.
All trails will remain open during construction, however, park visitors should use caution near the construction area when hiking, biking, or viewing wildlife.
PEAR, or Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve, is a passive recreation park with several miles of trails to explore, a wildlife watchpost overlooking an ephemeral wetland, a xeric with pavilion and a butterfly demonstration garden, an observation pavilion, a nature center with a geology lab, Bluebird Box Trail, 50 acres of scrub-jay restoration, and five acres of meadow restoration. Bordered by the Palatlakaha River on the north and west, this area holds a vast amount of wildlife and plants for the avid birder or naturalist to discover. Along the trails, more than 180 species of birds have been sighted.
The PEAR Park Gateway is the front 50 acres of the park and represents the active use area, offering numerous recreational amenities including two softball fields (which are closed for repairs), one football/soccer field, basketball court, six pickleball courts, two tennis courts, two large picnic pavilions with grills, playground, canoe and kayak launch, geo-caches, exercise stations, dog park, and access to the park’s hiking and nature trails. This area also boasts natural areas that provide habitat for wildlife, including summer tanagers, bobcat, gopher tortoise, oak toad, and Cooper’s hawk, the release states.
For additional information, contact the Office of Parks & Trails at 352.253.4950.