Grand Opening of Barr Hammock Preserve Southern Entrance

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Alachua County is celebrating the public opening of the Southern Entrance to Barr Hammock Preserve on June 17, 2017, at 9 a.m. at the South Trailhead (300 S.E. 175th Avenue, Micanopy). The celebration will introduce the Preserve through a brief series of talks and a ceremonial vine cutting. Guided nature walks and a cycling tour will begin at 10 a.m. Bicycles able to traverse sand and mud, such as mountain bikes are strongly recommended for the cycling tour. Horse Trails open at 10:30 a.m.

After the celebration, the Preserve will be open for hiking, biking, and horseback riding on 13 miles of marked trails through a variety of forested ecosystems. This southern entrance brings the total trail mileage within the preserve to 19.5 miles of marked and maintained trails; the northern trailhead offers 6.5 miles of separate trails that do not currently connect to the trails accessible from the southern trailhead.

Barr Hammock Preserve is located in south central Alachua County approximately one mile from the Alachua/Marion County line. It was acquired in phases between 2006 and 2016 with funding from the Alachua County Forever Bond, the 2008 Wild Spaces Public Places surtax, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Florida Communities Trust, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and a generous donation from the Whitehurst Family.

The Conservation Trust for Florida partnered with Alachua County in securing funding for acquisition of the preserve and currently assists in management of Barr Hammock by conducting outreach to the community.

“We are proud to have been a partner in protecting Barr Hammock’s critical ecosystems and consider it one of our biggest accomplishments,” said Conservation Trust for Florida President Lisa Gearena.

Barr Hammock Preserve is managed by the Alachua County Parks and Conservation Lands Department as part of the Alachua County Forever Program (the voter-approved initiative to acquire, improve and manage environmentally significant lands to protect water resources, wildlife habitat and natural areas suitable for resource-based recreation). Barr Hammock is the largest Alachua County-owned Preserve at almost 6,000 acres. The preserve encompasses many ecosystems from dry forests such as sandhill to lowland hardwood forests and large expanses of scenic marshes. The natural communities of the site support at least 27 plant and animal species that are protected by the State of Florida. 

“We are excited to make this large portion of Barr Hammock available to the public. The community support for this project from the acquisition phases through opening is heartening,” said Director of Alachua County’s Parks and Conservation Lands Department Charlie Houder, who administers the Alachua County Forever Program. “Barr Hammock is one of Alachua County’s most exceptional natural areas,” continued Houder. “Places like this are why citizens support land conservation.”

Partners in the stewardship of the preserve have included volunteers and donors include neighbors and interested citizens, student volunteers from the University of Florida’s Center for Leadership, the UF Chapter of the Wildlife Society, the UF Chapter of the Society of Civil Engineers, the Florida Trail Association, Gainesville’s geocaching group and Boy Scouts, donations of trees from Keep Alachua Beautiful, a donation of infrastructure materials from citizens Joel and Polly Smith, and a $10,000 grant from Weyerhaeuser toward preserve infrastructure. Staff has also worked with local artists to include interesting functional artwork as part of the preserve infrastructure. 

View the Grand Opening flyer.

For more information, contact the Alachua County Parks and Conservation Lands Department Senior Environmental Specialist Kelly McPherson at 352-264-6848 or

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