We call our newsletter "Touchstones". Most people have heard the expression “touchstone”. Did you know a touchstone was a bit of hard, dark, finely-grained rock carried by miners, merchants and bankers? When they wanted to test the purity of a gold nugget, they would rub it on the touchtone and compare it to known standards. When gold became valued as currency, the touchstone was used to test the integrity of gold coins.
The 2000 referendum that authorized the Alachua County Forever Program is our touchstone. We believe it is the mandate given us by the voters and therefore our mission. Over the last 11 years, when we were presented with an issue, we rubbed it – metaphorically speaking – on the referendum: “acquire, improve and manage environmentally significant lands to protect water resources, wildlife habitats and natural areas suitable for resource-based recreation”.
Whether we are considering which property to purchase, how to best accommodate multiple user groups, decide on appropriate timber harvesting, hunting, or grazing strategies, we look back at the referendum and ask ourselves, “is this what the voters intended?” I feel then “Touchstones” is a fitting name for our newsletter. In it, I hope to share with you our thoughts, successes, and challenges. We'll try to get it out to you the month after the season ends.
I hope you will let us know if we have not maintained your trust…