Land Conservation

About
Values
News​
Staff​

Mission Statement:

To acquire and provide for the stewardship of environmentally significant lands and parks to protect, maintain and improve natural resources and diverse resource-based recreational opportunities for current and future generations.

“There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value. Conservation means development as much as it does protection.”

- Theodore Roosevelt

Check back for new thoughts and quotes. Send your suggestions to us by clicking here.

Vision and Values:

Alachua County Forever will be a conscientious, innovative, progressive leader in land conservation and use acquisition, stewardship and funding development practices to preserve the environmental integrity of Alachua County and improve the quality of life for current and future generations.

Objectives:

  1. To be accountable to the taxpayers.
  2. To acquire the most environmentally significant habitats.
  3. To use a 'No Loss of Conservation Values' stewardship ethic.
  4. To treat partners, landowners and sellers with respect.
  5. To leverage the County's local investment.
  6. To encourage a community land ethic.

Latest News

08/22/2016: 1,479 acres of Alachua County Forever Land Control Burned in the 2015-16 Burn Season
08/22/2016: 1,479 acres of Alachua County Forever Land Control Burned in the 2015-16 Burn Season

The use of prescribed fire is critical to the ecosystems of Florida and the safety of its citizens. Not only is it the most cost effective resource management tool, it is used to decrease fuel build-up, it benefits plant and animal diversity, it is required for future propagation of many native plant species, and it decreases the likelihood of wildfires.

Alachua County Forever's prescribed fire program is proud to announce that they had a record year this 2015/2016 burn season with 1,344 acres of in-house burnsand an additional 135 acres burned by private contractors, making it a grand total




False
5/30/2016: Alachua County submits 60-acre Lochloosa Forest Application to Florida Forever Program
5/30/2016: Alachua County submits 60-acre Lochloosa Forest Application to Florida Forever Program

Alachua County Forever applied for partnership funding from the State's Florida Forever Program to assist with the purchase of 60,000 acres of forestland and wetlands in the eastern part of the County. This Project would: • Protect 59,853 acres; 29% wetlands • Protect State Priority Ecological Greenways • Protect Critical Ecological Corridors • Enhance clean water recharge of creeks, springsheds and aquifer • Protect critical Florida Black Bear habitat • Promote development outside of poorly drained, flood-prone, high-hazard area • Improve water quality of three impaired lakes • Expand recreation opportunities available in adjacent Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area, Gainesville-Hawthorne Rail-Trail, and Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. To view a copy of the grant, click here.​

False
12/15/2014: City and County Move Forward with Sandhill Habitat Restoration at Boulware Springs Nature Park and Sweetwater Preserve
12/15/2014: City and County Move Forward with Sandhill Habitat Restoration at Boulware Springs Nature Park and Sweetwater Preserve

The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department and the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department are happy to announce the upcoming habitat restoration projects at Boulware Springs Nature Park located at 3300 SE 15 Street and at Sweetwater Preserve located at 95 SE Williston Road. The long-term goal of the restoration is to bring back the former Sandhill habitat and restore biodiversity to the site. This work will be initiated before the end of this year, with the removal of hardwood trees not native to Sandhill habitat. For more, click on this link.​

False
10/28/2014: Alachua County Cracks Top 10 for Local Land Conservation in Florida
10/28/2014: Alachua County Cracks Top 10 for Local Land Conservation in Florida

In 1999, data from the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) showed Alachua County ranking 40th out of 67 Florida counties with 14.1% of the county in conservation. FNAI data this year shows we have climbed to 37th with 19% in conservation. More importantly, Alachua County ranks 10th in the state in terms of the percent protected by local governments (3.28%). Kudos go to the County and to the cities that made this happen. For county by county data click on this link.​

False
10/14/2014: County Commission to consider request to close Barr Hammock Levy Loop Trail
10/14/2014: County Commission to consider request to close Barr Hammock Levy Loop Trail

The staff will return to the County Commission with their recommendations in response to a request from neighbors of the Barr Hammock Levy Loop Trail to close the trail to the public. The Commission is scheduled to hear the request on October 28, 2014 at 5:00 P.M. in the Commission Chambers, 12 SE 1st Street, Gainesville. Staff remains opposed to this request for many reasons, chiefly because of the public benefits derived from keeping the loop trail open and intact. Click on the adopted Management Plan Conceptual Site Plan and the Staff Memo to the Commission for more information. 


False
8/8/2014: ACF acquires two more conservation easements in Lochloosa area.
8/8/2014: ACF acquires two more conservation easements in Lochloosa area.

Alachua County closed on two more conservation easements totaling over 500 acres. These two projects protect working landscapes and an artisanal cheese-making dairy, unique to the area. The projects were greatly facilitated by the landowners donation of 25% of the purchase price and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Farm and Ranchland Protection Program grant for 50% of the purchase. The County contributed the balance. For more information, click on the Higginbotham Ranch and Cypress Point Creamery story sheets.​

False
7/8/2014: ACF Program Supervisor now a Certified Park and Recreation and Professional
7/8/2014: ACF Program Supervisor now a Certified Park and Recreation and Professional

Alachua County Forever Program Supervisor Ramesh Buch was recently certified as a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) by the National Certification Board (NCB) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

The CPRP certification is granted to individuals employed in the recreation, park resources and leisure services professions who meet the eligibility requirements—including a combination of higher education and/or work experience—and who successfully complete the national CPRP examination. The examination tests knowledge in all aspects of general administration, programming and operations management for parks and recreation. CPRP certifications are valid for a period of two years, and professionals who wish to re-apply are required to complete a professional continuing education unit requirements or equivalent academic course work.

Individuals certified as CPRPs meet high standards of education, expertise and experience established in the field for park and recreation professionals, and many agencies recommend or require CPRP certification when hiring for professional positions.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 20,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrec-magazine.org.​

False
6/24/2014: County Commission to consider request to close Barr Hammock Levy Loop Trail
6/24/2014: County Commission to consider request to close Barr Hammock Levy Loop Trail

The County Commission Chair has agreed to allow a neighbor of the Barr Hammock Levy Loop Trail to request the trail be permanently closed to the public. The Commission is scheduled to hear the request on July 1, 2014 at 5:00 P.M. in the Commission Chambers, 12 SE 1st Street, Gainesville. Staff is opposed to this request for many reasons, chiefly because of the public benefits derived from keeping the loop trail open and intact. Click on the adopted Management Plan Conceptual Site Plan, the timeline for opening the main trailhead on SE 175th Avenue and the Staff Memo to the Commission for more information.​

False
3/19/2014: Outdoor Recreation Supports Billions of Dollars in Wages, Taxes and the Economy.
3/19/2014: Outdoor Recreation Supports Billions of Dollars in Wages, Taxes and the Economy.

Highlights from the 2014 Outdoor Industries Association Report:

  • Consumer spending on Outdoor Rec is the third biggest area in the US Economy. Pg. 3
  • Americans spend more on Americans spend more on bicycling gear and trips ($81 billion) than they do on airplane tickets and fees ($51 billion). Pg. 4
  • 6.1 million American livelihoods directly depend on outdoor recreation, more than Real Estate, Rentals, Leasing (2.0M), Oil and Gas (2.1M), Information Tec (2.5M), Education (3.5M), Transportation and Warehousing (4.3M), Construction (5.5M), and Finance and Insurance (5.8M). Pg. 7
  • More Americans jobs depend on Trail Sports (768,000) than there are lawyers (728,200) in the U.S.3 Pg. 8
  • Outdoor recreation economy grew approximately 5 percent annually between 2005 and 2011 – this during an economic recession when many industries contracted . Pg. 9
  • The Outdoor Recreation Economy generates $80 billion in national, state and local tax revenues each year. Pg. 13.
False
1/16/2014: Florida's Water & Land Legacy Constitutional Amendment will be on the Ballot in November
1/16/2014: Florida's Water & Land Legacy Constitutional Amendment will be on the Ballot in November

The Florida Water & Land Legacy Campaign has reached the required number of certified signatures for the constitutional amendment question to be posed to the voters this November. The amendment seeks to restore funding for the State's land conservation programs from its traditional source - the Documentary Stamp Tax - and continue Florida's landmark land conservation programs. These dollars are matched by local and federal funds to acquire our rapidly disappearing natural and working lands. Alachua County passed a Resolution last year in support of the amendment. For more information on the amendment, please click here.​

False
1/09/2014: ACF closes 51st transaction - Lake Forest Creek (Teuton)
1/09/2014: ACF closes 51st transaction - Lake Forest Creek (Teuton)

Alachua County Forever closed on 2 acres on the Gainesville-Hawthorne Rail Trail. In addition to preserving the view shed along the recreational Trail, this small property also fills in a gap between two Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park parcels. For more information click here.​

False
9/17/2013: Barr Hammock makes Backpacker Magazine
9/17/2013: Barr Hammock makes Backpacker Magazine

Check out the Oct. 2013 issue. It is rewarding to see our work featured in a national outdoor recreational magazine with all the great outdoor places to feature.​

False
6/6/2013: ACF Acquires 460 acres to Protect the Wellfield
6/6/2013: ACF Acquires 460 acres to Protect the Wellfield

Alachua County Forever closed on the 460-acre Buck Bay Flatwoods (Cox & Moore). It protects about 4,000 feet of Hatchett Creek and is located in the Primary and Secondary Wellfield Protection Areas of the Murphree Wellfield; the primary drinking source for the City of Gainesville. The sellers donated a significant portion of the property and all of the timber value. For more information, click here...​

False
4/25/2013: GainesvilleConnect.com; A New Web Portal for all things Alachua County & Gainesville Including Outdoor Recreation Links
4/25/2013: GainesvilleConnect.com; A New Web Portal for all things Alachua County & Gainesville Including Outdoor Recreation Links

GainesvilleConnect.com is now live and online. It is a resource for local residents and visitors who are looking for things to do, or for information on this area. Most fun are the links to recreational opportunities including ACF trails and County Parks. Click on the logo below to get started!

False
4/9/2013: ACF adds to Santa Fe River Conservation Corridor
4/9/2013: ACF adds to Santa Fe River Conservation Corridor

Alachua County added a 94-acre property to the acreage protecting the Santa Fe River, one of the most important recreational and ecological corridors in the area. The Bradham property is adjacent to Alachua Conservation Trust's River Creek Preserve, combined protects almost 200 acres and 2 miles on the Santa Fe River. Read more...​

False

To view all other news for Alachua County Land Conservation Click Here.

  • Sandra Vardaman
    Acting Program Manager
    Land Conservation Biologist
  • Kelly McPherson
    Sr. Environmental Specialist
  • Stephen Montgomery
    Sr. Environmental Specialist Forester
  • David Hoyt
    Sr. Environmental Specialist Prescribed Fire
  • Kevin Ratkus
    Environmental Specialist
  • Bob Kennedy
    Environmental Specialist
  • Rick Campanale
    Environmental Specialist
  • Vacant Position
    Environmental Specialist

Contact Us

  • Land Conservation
  • 408 West University Ave., Suite 106
  • Gainesville, FL 32601
  • Phone: 352-264-6868
  • Fax: 352-264-6852

ACF project map


General Program Brochure

ACF Dashboard
  • Acquisition List protected: 24,089
  • With Direct ACF funding: 19,430
  • Remaining on List: 27,236
  • Under contract: 0
  • Value of land protected: $105,625,976
  • County share: $37,671,732
  • Partner share: $67,954,245
  • Managed by County: 10,662
  • Managed by Partners: 8,634
  • Acreage open now: 12,817
  • To be opened in next 5 years*: 4,703

*Guided group tours can be arranged in the interim
As of 5/27/2015

​​