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Rattlesnake Key on deck to become a new state park in Manatee County

Rattlesnake Key Map

Rattlesnake Key could become the next state park in Manatee County if an effort to purchase the land moves forward at the upcoming legislative session.

The island is located just south of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and is only accessible by boat. It has several estuarine wetlands and coastal upland habitats identified as conservation priorities by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

For decades, local advocates have highlighted the importance of preserving the 830-acre property.

“This parcel was added in 1996 to the state acquisition program,” Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker said. “(It’s) something the environmental community and the state have recognized as a resource for environmental protection.”

Manatee County commissioners voted unanimously earlier this month to contribute up to $3 million to the effort. The county's ordinance also calls for daytime public access and provisions for camping and other recreation at the park.