Zoo trail scheduled to be completed in 2017 using state funds


Linear Park Trail at Brevard Zoo expansion starts in 2017.

photo by george white

The popular Linear Park Trail at Brevard Zoo will be expanded for two and half miles to complete the project, which terminates to the south on Turtle Mound Road.

The $2.5 million project, funded from the Florida Department of Transportation, begins this year with design work and setting the exact route of the trail. Construction starting in 2017 is expected to take about six months to complete, said Jack Masson, Brevard County Parks and Recreation director.

The initial 10-foot wide, 1.1 mile segment, made of recycled plastic, winds through the wetlands and oak hammocks east of Interstate 95. The $3.2 million trail was built on land donated by the Duda family. The trail was paid for with parks bond money approved by voters in November 2000. Construction began in 2012 after more than 10 years of discussion.

While plans have always been to extend the trail to the south, thereby opening up the route that ultimately connects with the Pineda Causeway extension, that process, including a new source of funding, was something that had to be worked out, Masson said.

“I like that it’s an opportunity we have made to leverage the money to provide for an additional valuable recreation asset,’’ Masson said.

The county is going to request to extend the maintenance agreement with Brevard Zoo on the new segment, which entails keeping it clear of debris and regular inspections, he said.

The heaviest use of the existing trail is during the early mornings and evenings when it is not as hot, Masson said.

“We get very good usage early and late and we expect the same with the extension. We expect the biggest increase to be in use as a bike trail because now it’s longer and goes through,’’ Masson said.

Zoo Marketing and Communications Director Andrea Hill has run the current trail with the zoo’s running group, informally called Code Zebra.