ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - The public is invited to attend the grand opening and ceremonial ribbon/vine cutting of the Sweetwater Preserve, the fifth Alachua County Forever property to open, on Saturday, July 19, 2008 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The preserve is a 114 acre area adjacent to the north edge of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Boulware Springs City Park, Evergreen Cemetery, and the Downtown Connector portion of the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail. Events will also include a brief introductory talk and a 1.25 mile nature walk through 7 different natural communities.
The Sweetwater Preserve is a short 2 mile bike ride from downtown Gainesville on the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail. Attendees driving to the ceremony should park at the Gainesville Hawthorn Trailhead Parking Area at Boulware Springs Park and walk 1200 feet north to the Sweetwater Preserve Trailhead. See map below.
Sandra Vardaman, Land Conservation Biologist for Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, commented, "Sweetwater Preserve has a great diversity of natural communities and lies on the interface between urban Gainesville and a significant area of preserved lands including Paynes Prairie, Boulware Springs, Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area, Phifer Flatwoods, and Prairie Creek equaling about 50,000 areas, and it's only a short bike ride from Gainesville on the rail-trail."
The Sweetwater Preserve was acquired by Alachua County with funds from the Alachua County Forever Bond and a Florida Communities Trust grant on March 24, 2006. Since this date, staff, partners and volunteers have been managing the natural and cultural resources and working toward opening the Preserve to the public.
The preserve will be open from sunrise to sunset for hiking and biking on established paths.
For more information, click here or call the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department at 352-264-6800.
Click on image to enlarge.