ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The City of Orlando has agreed to buy out the hunting rights to Orlando Wetlands Park for $400,000. The park is in Christmas and serves as a place to send diffused water from the reclaimed water plant nearby. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says the park has become much more popular than the city ever imagined.
"We did not anticipate how much birding activity there would be. I would suggest anybody that has not been out there, it is a natural beauty."
That park though is closed for three months out of the year, during hunting season. When the city bought the land in 1987, they gave the purchasing family 50 years of hunting rights on the property. The mayor says they have little choice but to shut Orlando Wetlands Park down from November until February 1.
"For about three months it causes some issues if you have people out hunting and shooting ducks, there are certain activities that we can't do."
Mayor Dyer called buying back the final 22 years of hunting rights for $400,000 "fair." "We had an appraiser do a fair market value. So, I'm probably not qualified to do that, so we will live with what the appraiser said."
We reached one of the family members that reached the settlement by phone, and they told us the public would be better served if that park was open year round.