Media Release

Alachua County Forever Receives 1.1 Million

Monday, November 3, 2008 12:00 AM

1:45 p.m.

ALACHUA COUNTY - This week, Alachua County received a check from Florida Communities Trust for $1.1 million to offset 40% of the cost of the 630-acre Phifer Flatwoods acquisition by Alachua County Forever. The Phifer Flatwoods protects the intersection of the popular Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail and the primary north-south wildlife corridor in Alachua County. Named for the historic railroad settlement of Phifer, the property is bounded on the south by 3 miles of the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail, which is visited by more than 33,000 people annually. In its two decades of existence, the Trail has remained a largely rural experience despite mounting development pressure. Sandwiched between the 27,000-acre Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area and State Road 20, the project site is a critical link between Lochloosa and Paynes Prairie to the south, and vast conservation and silvicultural lands to the north that are high priorities for future conservation activities. Large fauna, such as Florida Black Bear, pass through the area on their way to Camp Blanding to the north or Ocala National Forest to the south.

Receipt of this check adds the exclamation point to a remarkable example of local land conservation and is testament to the dedication and concerted efforts of citizens, non-profit organizations, and government. When the land was first put up for auction, Alachua Conservation Trust, Inc., a local non-profit land trust, quickly rallied the support of the community, receiving loans and donations from more than 50 individuals, foundations, and non-profit groups, and gifts from more than 250 households. This valiant effort raised nearly $3 million for the initial land purchase. Alachua County purchased Phifer Flatwoods from Alachua Conservation Trust using Alachua County Forever funds. Florida Communities Trust reimbursed Alachua County 40% of their cost adding their name to the extraordinarily large number of people involved in preserving this vital ecological and recreational corridor.

This grant brings the total contributions from State, Federal, local and non-profit partnerships directed at the County's acquisition list to $45 million to match the County’s local investment of $25 million. The Alachua County Forever Program and its partners will have protected over 16,000 acres of environmentally significant land. Commenting on the grant, Ramesh Buch, Land Conservation Manager for Alachua County's Land Conservation Program said, "Alachua County Forever has been very fortunate to have such active State and private partners willing to work with us cooperatively towards conserving our natural heritage."

Phifer was recently opened to the public by the County. To access the 630-acre property, click on the map and directions. More information on the site is available in the  Fact Sheet.





  • Mark Sexton
  • Communications & Legislative Affairs Director
  • Phone: 352-374-5204
  • Cell: 352-283-2317

If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).