Wild Spaces and Public Places Funding Permanently Protects Serenola Forest

Alachua County and Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT) are pleased to announce that an important buffer area between Paynes Prairie and Gainesville’s urban development has been permanently protected through this recent joint land acquisition. The long-negotiated purchase of 110.93 acres from Serenola LLC closed on December 6, 2018.

Serenola Forest lies south of Williston Road between Oak Hammock and Idylwild Elementary School and consists of mixed pine and hardwood forestland. In addition to providing wildlife habitat in the urban fringe, this critical, buffering forest filters stormwater draining toward Paynes Prairie.

The majority of the land, 103.21 acres, was purchased through the Alachua County Forever program with funding from the Wild Spaces and Public Places initiative. The County’s purchase price was $2,997,966. The previous owner, Serenola LLC, paid $18 million for the entire property in 2006.

Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT) raised $225,000 in private funds to purchase 7.72 acres of the preserve and will provide day-to-day management for the entire property. Planned improvements include walking paths open to the public, two trailheads, wildlife viewing platform, bike racks, informational kiosks, benches, and a parking area. ACT has already coordinated a volunteer workday to remove debris from the site and another volunteer work day is slated for Saturday, December 29.

The Wild Spaces and Public Places initiative levied an eight-year, one-half-cent sales tax approved by county voters in November 2016. Funds generated through Wild Spaces and Public Places pay for the purchase of conservation lands and the improvement of recreational facilities throughout the county and its municipalities.

View maps of the protected Serenola Forest.

For more information about Alachua County Trust, contact ACT Executive Director Tom Kay at 352-373-1078.

For more information, contact Alachua County Parks and Conservation Lands Director Charlie Houder at 352-264-6804.

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