LITTLE ORANGE CREEK PRESERVE
Size: 1090 acres Date conserved: 2012 (700 acres) & 2013 (390 acres) Partner Organizations: Putnam Land Conservancy, Alachua County Forever, Conservation Trust for Florida
Little Orange Creek Preserve (1090 acres) is just northeast of Hawthorne and the two sections owned and managed by ACT are some of our newest acquisitions. The projects received funds through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and Alachua County Forever (ACF).
At this point, there is very little recreational opportunity on the property. Eventually, there will be a network of trails that connect with the City of Hawthorne’s Little Orange Creek Nature Park (1200 acres), another relatively new acquisition that was championed by the late Dr. Kathy Cantwell and the Putnam Land Conservancy.
There is considerable work ahead to return these lands to a more natural state, and the management of the entire complex of conservation lands will be closely coordinated between the various government and non-profit organizations involved. Large parts of Little Orange Creek Preserve are basin swamp with a mix of cypress, tupelo, and red maple. The uplands were historically a mix of sandhill and flatwoods that were steadily converted to planted pine many years ago. Restoration will involve thinning, prescribed burns, and planting. In addition, ACT is working with adjacent landowners and exploring the possibility of expanding the preserve in the future.
The rich variety of habitats supports a wonderful diversity of plants and animals. Bears regularly travel through the area, and have been photographed numerous times using trail cameras. Other large mammals include deer, coyotes, bobcats, and otters. The freshwater marshes and swamps provide excellent habitat for many species of wading birds and other wetlanddependent species.
• Prairie Creek Preserve provides public trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. • The trails are unpaved, and in some places can be muddy, uneven, or wet. • Dogs are welcome. • Preserve closes at dark.
Use our interactive map to find other ACT properties and explore the different conservation lands in Alachua County.
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