Hours of Operation
Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.

Pets are not allowed in camping areas, on bathing beaches, in concession areas and may be restricted in other designated areas of the park. Where pets are allowed, they must be kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash and well-behaved at all times. Service dogs are welcome in all areas of the parks.

State Park Guide
To discover and experience all of the Real Florida at Florida's 145 state parks, ask a Park Ranger where you can pick up a copy of the Florida State Park Guide, or call 850/488-9872.

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In 1955, Elsa Scherer Burrows bequeathed 462 acres of land to the state of Florida for use as a park. The land was donated in memory of her father, Oscar Scherer, an inventor who developed a process for dyeing leather for shoes in 1872.

After a year of preparation, Oscar Scherer State Recreation Area was opened to the public in 1956. In 1991, an additional 922 acres were purchased as part of the P2000 initiative. This increased the parks total acreage to 1384 acres.

The biological features of this park consist of two significant plant communities, pine flatwoods and scrubby flatwoods. Both communities provide a home for many unique animals which are present in the park. The park, now named Oscar Scherer State Park, is particularly noted for its population of Florida scrub jays, which are a threatened species. Bald eagles, bobcats, river otters and alligators are often seen in the park.

The most significant plant community in the park is the scrubby flatwoods. Besides the scrub jay, several other species which are declining in numbers in Florida inhabit this vital area. These species include the gopher tortoise, gopher frog and indigo snake. Currently, the scrubby flatwoods is in poor condition due to past suppression and exclusion of natural fires. Active management of the scrubby flatwoods includes mechanical methods as well as the use of prescribed burning. The unique habitat is becoming increasingly more valuable as it rapidly disappears from Florida due to the land being high, dry and easily cleared for development.

The second major plant community in the park is the pine flatwoods. This area is home to a variety of birds including warblers and woodpeckers. The gopher tortoise may also be found making the pine flatwoods its home.

Along with the wildlife easily observed at Oscar Scherer State Park, there are a number of recreational activities available. A small freshwater lake provides visitors with a perfect location for swimming. Fishing is enjoyed in South Creek with freshwater species found above the dam and saltwater species found below the dam. A Florida freshwater fishing license is required for all persons 16 years of age or older. A saltwater license may be required. See a park ranger for specific license requirements.

Visitors with a sense of adventure will find South Creek ideal for canoeing. Canoes may be rented at the ranger station. You may want to join a park ranger for a guided canoe program and learn more about the park's history and plant and animal life. Campsites are available for tent or RV camping with complete hook-ups for electric and water.

The park also has a primitive youth camping area available. Trails wind through natural areas of the park providing the visitors with a close look at the different varieties of plants and many wildlife species. Park rangers give guided walks and campfire programs according to seasonal demand. Oscar Scherer State Park is the only park in the state with a totally ADA accessible nature trail. The Lester Finley Trail was named after the late Mr. Finley a park volunteer who was blind. Mr. Finley spent many hours working in the park helping to manage the resources, clean trails, and any other task assigned to him. Much of the trail is a result of volunteer labor from local residents and local school children who worked together to create this trail for everyone to enjoy.

Oscar Scherer State Park is located on U.S. 41, six miles south of Sarasota. From I-75 North, take exit 36. From I-75 South take exit 35B.For more information, contact:

Oscar Scherer State Park

1843 S. Tamiami Trail

Osprey, FL 34229

(941) 483-5956

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