Parts of Robinson Preserve to close as expansion project resumes May 26

Parts of Robinson Preserve to close as expansion project resumes May 26
Posted on 05/15/2020

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (May 15, 2020) – Work is set to resume on the final construction phases at Manatee County's popular Robinson Preserve Expansion. The Parks and Natural Resources Department will oversee habitat restoration on 135 acres located at the expansion area of Manatee County’s most popular natural preserve.

Public access will be closed to the construction area but all other trails into Robinson Preserve will remain open to the public, including the grounds of the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology (the NEST). [Please check the Parks Closures page to see if the NEST itself is open.]

The $2.8 million restoration project will begin May 26 and last approximately seven months. During the project, heavy equipment will be used to enhance fisheries habitat, and install native plants. Crews will also use the closure time to construct new pavilions, restrooms, kayak storage tubes, benches and trailside shade structures. The habitat restoration project, partially funded with BP Oil Spill dollars, is designed to local fisheries, and restore native habitats. The project is being funded through a combination of grants including a $1.5 million contribution from National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a result of the Deep Water Horizon/BP Oil spill. The remaining $500,000 comes from the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"Bringing the last phase of environmental construction to completion at Robinson Preserve meets a pledge we make every day to our community to prioritize environmental restoration and coastal water quality improvement in ways that allow the public to renew their connections with nature, reaffirm their own health and wellness and proudly share these experiences with family, friends and visitors from around the world," said Parks and Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker. "This phase of our restoration serves as an affirmation that out of the catastrophic fire and oil spillage from the Deep Water Horizon disaster, we can apply funding NOAA and other government partners in Robinson Preserve to create a resilient and diverse water quality environment today and for all generations to follow."

The Robinson Preserve Expansion was started in 2012 with a donation of the 150-acre Expansion Parcel to Manatee County from the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast which acquired the land at a discounted rate from the Robinson family using a monetary pledge from the Mosaic Company Foundation of $3.2 million.

Robinson Preserve first opened to the public in 2007 after habitat improvements were made to the original 482 acres. With the expansion in 2012 and the addition of the Winston Tract in 2016, the total area of Robinson Preserve now exceeds 684 acres. The project beginning later this month will likely mark the final phase of an immense effort by numerous entities to preserve and protect some of the County’s most valuable natural assets while providing passive recreational opportunities to hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

For more information on Manatee County Government, visit or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.

Map of expansion area in Robinson Preserve