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Split Oak supporters consider legal options after toll road gains key approval

Photo by Amy Green
Photo by Amy Green

Supporters of central Florida’s Split Oak Forest are not giving up their opposition to plans for a toll road through the protected woodland. 

The toll road got a big boost last week with a key approval from the Florida Communities Trust. The road next goes back before the Orange and Osceola county commissions. 

The forest has been protected since the 1990s and is home to imperiled species like the gopher tortoise. Valerie Anderson of Friends of Split Oak says the group is considering legal options.  

“If it can happen to Split Oak, it can happen to other places. This is a weakening of conservation protections for land around the state.” 

By a margin of 86%, Orange County voters in 2020 approved a charter amendment aimed at further protecting the forest. The road would connect State Road 417 with the Osceola Parkway. 

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.