Turkey Creek Sanctuary Canoe Deck Named for Oli Johnson
In a ceremony held on Tuesday, May 29, the Canoe Deck at the Turkey Creek Sanctuary, located at 1502 Port Malabar Blvd. in Palm Bay, was officially reopened and named as the “Oli Johnson Canoe Deck”. The canoe deck has recently undergone upgrades and damage repair due to the past years’ hurricanes.
The Canoe Deck was part of the original boardwalk built in 1985. It is the “go to” spot for park visitors- it is the best part of the park to view turtles, manatees, fish, and the occasional alligator. The upgrades include a new larger design, new benches, and a new staircase. Improvements were made possible by a generous donation from an anonymous couple who were visiting the sanctuary from out of town.
The new deck was named for Robert “Oli” Johnson who was the Park Ranger/Naturalist at the sanctuary from 1993-2016. During his time at the sanctuary, Oli supervised a small staff of part-time rangers and conducted many programs such as ranger tours, kayak tours, owl prowls, and special events such as the TCS Jubilee, and many more. Oli was also responsible for maintenance and repairs of the boardwalk, which could be an overwhelming task, especially following a hurricane or major storm. He single-handedly, for the most part, kept the boardwalk in good working order, which is amazing considering that many sections are over 30 years old.
Tracey Wright, the current Park Ranger/Naturalist, officially dedicated the Canoe deck by reading a proclamation from Palm Bay Mayor William Capote, naming the deck as the “Oli Johnson Canoe Deck”. “It is because of his dedication to park and the City that I wanted to recognize Oli formally with having the Canoe Deck named for him”, said Wright.
For more information about the Turkey Creek Sanctuary, call (321) 676-6690 or visit www.PlayPalmBay.org.