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NOT JUST PICNIC TABLES The T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Reserve has more than 80 miles of hiking and biking trails, including the 12-mile Myakka Island Wilderness Trail, which connects the Carlton Reserve with Myakka River State Park. Photo courtesy of Sarasota County COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AGREE TO SET ASIDE A PORTION OF THE VOTER-APPROVED PARKLANDS TAX TO MAKE NEWLY ACQUIRED PROPERTY ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC By Roger Drouin County Editor Since 1999, Sarasota County has purchased 35,000 acres through the voter-approved Environmentally Sensitive Lands program. It has bought another 144 acres since 2007 through its Neighborhood Parkland Acquisition program. expenses for opening the properties to public access. County crews will often have to clear away trash that was dumped on the property, cut through thick vegetation and blaze trails for hikers, birders and horseback riders. "We will put some signage in to let people know The purchases are funded through revenue where they are and set aside a clear parking generated by a 0.25 mill ad valorem tax. area," Amy Meese, director of natural resourcWhenever Sarasota County makes these es for Sarasota County, told the County Compurchases, it usually has to cover separate mission this week.

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