Nayfield Acres Conservation Easement
The 136-acre Nayfield Acres Conservation Easement adds to protected lands within the Suwannee River corridor. The land is adjacent to the Big Shoals Conservation Area, and contains a seepage spring and creek system that drains into the Suwannee River. These lands serve as a buffer to the protected state lands by providing additional wildlife habitat, protecting water quality, and preventing soil erosion, as well as providing scenic amenity to the hiking trails located within Big Shoals Conservation Area.
The Nayfields have begun to restore the cleared portions of the property by planting long leaf pine. The property is used for recreational activities such as camping, hiking, hunting, and wildlife viewing.
Hartzog Santa Fe River Conservation Easement
Large, privately held, undeveloped parcels with significant river frontage on the Santa Fe River are a rarity today. These parcels are significant for many reasons, including protecting water resources, providing habitat to important species, and providing scenic amenity and open space in an increasingly developed landscape. The Hartzogs chose to donate a conservation easement on their 117-acre parcel on the Santa Fe River to protect these qualities on their land.
The Hartzogs are working to restore native long leaf pines to part of the property, and plan to use the property in a recreational and educational manner. They hope to be able to share their property with individuals who have limited contact with nature or who are handicapped.
The Webber Cedar Lakes Ranch and Nature Preserve
The Webber Cedar Lakes Ranch and Nature Preserve Conservation Easement, donated to CTF on December 23, 2008, is a 54-acre parcel owned by Dr. Raymond T. Webber. The karst topography and nature of the property makes it a significant contributor to protecting water quality and quantity in Levy County, Florida, and the surrounding region. The property is adjacent to Devil's Den, a spring, and popular diving destination.
One of the management goals is to maximize wildlife habitat of the woods and eliminate invasive exotic vegetation.
Cross Creek is a special place with a unique rural character, immortalized by Pulitzer Prize winner Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. CTF was happy to accept a conseration easement on Phyllis Hansen's 25-acre protert on the shore of Orange Lake. The easement will protect the wildlife, waterfront, and water quality, as wel as the dense florest on the property.
Phyllis wanted to protect the scenic beauty of the tupelo swamp on her property. "When I found this spot of land I knew I would never go anywhere else," she wrote. "The beauty was more than I had ever imagined could exist in one place. I worried about what would happen to it when I was no longer around. After a number of efforts, trials, and errors, the Conservation Trust for Florida solved my problem and I thank them earnestly from the bottom of my heart.”
Working with the state Office of Greenways and Trails, CTF helped protect Price's Scrub, a unique 952-acre sand pine and pond pine system with saw palmetto understory. Price's Scrub is continuing ecological restoration and is open to the public for light recreation such as hiking and horseback riding. These properties are an important connection in the effort to create a recreational corridor, primarily for horseback riding, from Payne's Prairie Sate Preserve to Goethe State Forest.
Lochloosa Nature Preserve
CTF nominated the Lochloosa Nature Preserve for acquisition by the Alachua County Forever land conservation program. The project was approved for acquisition in October 2003. The 1,388-acre parcel, surrounded by the Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area, boasts some of the best remaining longleaf pine flatwoods and sandhill habitat in the county.
In 2002, CTF nominated Barr Hammock for acquisition. Using Alachua County Forever funds, the Alachua County Commission purchased this prized property, furthering our commitment to help create a recreational, landscape-level corridor that runs through Alachua and Marion Counties. Barr Hammock connects Payne's Prairie State Preserve to the Ocala National Forest and Goethe State Forest, keeping intact entire ecosystems, wildlife populations and the largest wetlands in Alachua County – Ledwith and Levy Prairies. Barr Hammock and its surrounding uplands are some of the most important ecologically intact examples of prairie/lake ecosystems in north central Florida. Its protection preserves significant prehistoric archaeological sites and will provide the citizens of Florida with a beautiful space for recreational activities such as bird watching and hiking.
Evinston/Orange Lake Preservation Project
As part of the Farmlands Program, The Conservation Trust for Florida is working to protect the scenic and historic character of the Evinston and the Cross Creek area, located near Orange Lake.
These special places are in danger of being lost to cookie cutter homes and five-acre ranchettes. The scenic countryside is rich with history and is home to historic houses, places of worship, and businesses. Many listed species such as Bald Eagles, Sandhill Cranes, Wood Storks, Fox Squirrels, Black Bears, and a variety of amphibians and reptiles also make their home on the shores of Orange and Lochloosa Lakes and in the surrounding countryside.
Several residents and landowners have expressed their concerns about the future would like the area to retain its scenic and historic qualities. The town has a rich history and was named after one of Mr. Freddie Wood’s ancestors. The Wood & Swink Old Country Store and Post Office has been in the Wood family since 1906 and still serves as a post office and general store.
CTF’s work in the Evinston and Cross Creek area includes securing funds to upgrade the store with modern conveniences such as AC/Heat, a handicap ramp and bathroom and a new front door in order to prevent the closure of the Post Office.
Preservation Through Partnership
The AEC Trust generously supports the Evinston/Orange Lake Preservation Project. The Farmlands Program also received very generous support from Progress Energy. The project is part of the Old Florida Heritage Highway, which is part of the state of Florida’s Scenic Highway program. CTF is also working collaboratively with the staff of the Alachua County Forever program to protect environmentally sensitive land. In the area. The Evinston/Orange Lake Preservation Project has received letters of support from the Alachua County Historical Commission, Matheson Museum, Micanopy Historical Society, and the Old Florida Heritage Scenic Highway.
Read more about the Cross Creek Paint Out in the Summer 2007 Issue of the LTA Exchange
Learn how help farmers and landowners protect the character of their property and plan for its future.
View this inspiring and informative video by Former Florida Governor Buddy MacKay, who is also a member of CTF's Advisory Board. He talks about the importance of protecting wildlife corridors and protecting land for conservation. Video is by the University of Florida, IFAS as part of the Springs Protection Workshop in May 2012 (11 minutes).