Gladys E. Douglas Preserve

The Preserve consists of approximately 44 acres of environmentally sensitive lands, with an adjoining lake of 80 acres, and wetlands. It is truly a Dunedin treasure. The walking and nature trails feature educational signs that highlight the plant and wildlife that may be found there. The Preserve's future amenities include access to Jerry Lake, as well as a pier, kayak launch, picnic pavilion, observation platform, and nature museum.


Visiting the Preserve

What is a Preserve?

Although parks and preserves may look very similar and have many of the same features, the difference between the two is defined by the primary purpose. The purpose of a preserve is to protect a natural area of feature, to conserve a watershed, or to protect habitat for endangered species.


A temporary parking lot has been established and is located on the left-hand side as you enter the preserve at the main entrance.

Bicycles, Golf Carts & Motorized Vehicles

Two pedestrian entrances are located off the sidewalk along Keene Road. Bicycle racks are available at each entrance to park your bike. Golf carts, motorized vehicles, bicycles and scooters are only permitted on designated roads and parking areas; they are not permitted on the trails. 

Help Protect Nature!

parks vs preserves

The following are prohibited: Alcohol, smoking, and dogs (except service animals) are prohibited in the preserve.

Why can't I bring my dog?

Dogs are not permitted at Gladys E. Douglas Preserve. The Preserve is a refuge for many native species. The Gladys E. Douglas Preserve is the site of the last know remaining rosemary bald in Pinellas County as well as many endangered and threatened species. Their continued health depends on the Preserve remaining in its natural state. Native animals often view the family pet as a predator and will respond accordingly. This additional stress has a negative cumulative effect on our local wildlife populations. In addition, we fail to clean up after domestic animals, this extra waste can contribute to excessive nutrient loading, introduction of invasive exotic plant species, and the spread of diseases. The City of Dunedin provides many local parks where dogs are allowed (on a leash), including Scotsdale Park, Hammock Park, Weaver Park and more. Visit our Parks page to find a local park near you.


Trail Map


Phase 1 - Conservation Area & Walking Trails


The first phase of the Preserve, which is now open to the public, includes a half-mile of walking/nature trails that wind through the conservation area. Along the trails, visitors will find trail markers, maps, and interpretive signs which include a description of the area and some of the plant life and wildlife that may be found there. A field fence was installed along some of the walking paths to help protect the conservation area and important native plants, including the last-known remaining Rosemary Bald in Pinellas County and the pale reindeer moss that grows among it.

The City of Dunedin opened the first phase of the Gladys E. Douglas Preserve with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, February 25, 2023. Hundreds of residents came out to celebrate the opening of the Preserve along with City and County officials, and local donors. The Preserve, located at the northeast corner of Virginia Avenue and Keene Road, is approximately 44 acres of environmentally sensitive lands, with an 80-acre adjoining lake and wetlands. The main entrance is located at 1900 Virginia Ave, Dunedin FL.

The site was the home of philanthropist Gladys Elaine Douglas. Some of her life’s greatest joy came from listening to the birds fly over the pine scrub and looking out over the lake bordering the home where she lived for 50 years.

“It was her soul,” said widower Bob Hackworth Sr., 91, who still lives on the homestead on the east side of the property. Gladys Douglas passed away in July 2019 at the age of 95.

This untouched, undeveloped parcel of land was almost lost to a private developer. The City of Dunedin and the community wanted to keep it as a preserve and green space for citizens to be able to enjoy it in its natural state - forever. In 2021, the City, County, and citizens from the community came together to raise the $10 million purchase price. Of the $10 million, $4.5 million was raised from more than 1,100 private donors to forever preserve the land as open green space. The community and local government came together to save some of the last green space in Pinellas County that future generations will be able to experience and enjoy.


Gladys E. Douglas Preserve ribbon cutting
Photo: Phase 1 Ribbon Cutting - February 25, 2023

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Phase 2 - Future Amenities & Access to Jerry Lake


The residential area and access to Jerry Lake remain closed to the public at this time while this area continues to be under development. The second phase, expected to open in 2025, will include public access to Jerry Lake, a kayak launch, pier, restrooms, a picnic pavilion, a wildlife observation platform, and a nature museum.

The property is filled with 143 native plant species, 11 of which are endangered, threatened or exploited. “This is a preserve, so there’s not going to be a lot of active recreation activities,” said Dunedin Parks & Recreation Director Vince Gizzi. “This is what people wanted. We wanted to make sure we save the land, saved it from development and keep it in its natural state.”

The preserve contains critically endangered scrub habitat and was the largest undeveloped sandy ecosystem remaining in North Pinellas County. In May 2021, the property was purchased by the City of Dunedin for preservation in perpetuity. This was only accomplished through the collaborative efforts and financial contributions from Pinellas County as well as the monumental community support. Hundreds of donors and local non-profits led the efforts. Unprecedented private donations through the Pinellas Community Foundation non-profit organization contributed $4.5 million for the land acquisition.

North of the preserve is Jerry Lake, which is approximately 80-acres of lake and surrounding wetlands. The City purchased the lake from the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), making the preserve approximately 125 total acres. Who is Jerry of Jerry Lake? While it's not an easy question to answer, it is interesting. History goes back regarding the lake as early as 1846.Read the full article at

The management plan for the property is expected to preserve the ecosystem while still providing for outdoor recreation and educational opportunities for park visitors. The City of Dunedin Parks Division has been hard at work helping to prepare a portion of the site for public access. This includes expanding the entrance drive, establishing a temporary parking area, clearing exotic plants, and establishing walking trails.

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1900 Virginia Ave., Dunedin 34698  View Map

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