Oscar Scherer State Park held a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday to open the first phase of its new, accessible fishing pier and boardwalk, a project that has been in the works for almost 15 years. More than $300,000 was raised to complete phase one of the project — constructing one leg of the fishing pier out into the three-acre freshwater Lake Osprey along with the central platform.
Contributions from the nonprofit volunteer group Friends of Oscar Scherer Park, as well as from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation and the Florida State Parks Foundation, led to the completion of phase one. In phase two, the roof over the central platform will be constructed, and phase three will include the construction of the pier’s second leg.
“This fishing pier is the result of hard work and a commitment to creating an accessible, educational and recreational spot over beautiful Lake Osprey,” said Florida State Parks Foundation President Tammy Gustafson. “Congratulations to the partners for this valuable addition to Oscar Scherer State Park, and for accomplishing the first stage of this long-awaited project.”
Oscar Scherer State Park is just north of Venice on Florida’s west coast and the Lake Osprey Fishing Pier, apart from being an added attraction for park visitors, will also be used for school visits to teach children how to fish and to help them learn about the natural environment in a hands-on experience. The pier is ADA-compliant with areas of lowered rails so that seated visitors have unobstructed views and can cast fishing lines.
David Pierce, President of the park’s citizen support group, Friends of Oscar Scherer Park, said, “This is a momentous day. We have been fundraising for nearly 15 years to provide an accessible fishing pier and boardwalk where all visitors can enjoy Lake Osprey’s vista and access its fishing opportunities. It is a place to stroll, relax, enjoy a picnic, meet with friends, look out for wildlife or just watch the sun rising or setting over tranquil Lake Osprey.”
“This project is an important one for the community, and the Selby Foundation is proud to have helped make it a reality. It is a joy to support the creation of an accessible experience at Oscar Scherer State Park, and it is rewarding to know visitors have so many ways to engage with nature at this park for years to come,” said Carol Butera, President/CEO of the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation.
The Florida State Parks Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.
It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy. The volunteer Board of Directors represents private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests. This project is being completed by the Florida State Parks Foundation Services LLC, which is a limited liability company affiliate of the Foundation.