Lee County acquires 427 acres for preservation program

Writer: Derrick Shaw
This conservation area off SR-80 and just west of Hickey Creek Mitigation Park will now be known as Oak Hammock Preserve. (Credit: Google Street View)

Lee County has acquired 427 acres in Alva through its Conservation 20/20 program.

The parcel is located directly south of State Road 80 and less than a mile west of Hickey Creek Mitigation Park, according to a news release from Lee County.

The acquisition adds to a large area of existing conservation land in northeast Lee County, which protects an area nearly 6 miles wide and 3 miles long.

The Lee Board of County Commissioners approved the purchase for  $4.4 million in August of last year.

The land is adjacent to the River Hall subdivision and is formerly referred to as the Carter Ranch. It was purchased from Amtel Farms, Inc.

The new conservation area will be known as Oak Hammock Preserve and will include hiking trails with parking.

This is the 51st land acquisition for the county through its Conservation 2020 project, which was established in 1996.

The preserve includes several upland plant communities, including pine flatwoods, pine mesic oak and temperature hardwoods.

Additionally, the preserve provides significant opportunities for water resources due to its proximity to the headwaters of Hickey Creek, including the potential to provide flooding relief to nearby residential neighborhoods.

The Lee County Conservation 20/20 program acquires land from willing sellers for resource-based recreational opportunities such as hiking, birdwatching, nature study, photography and paddle craft launches. The program for environmentally sensitive land acquisition and management has preserved 31,060 acres since its inception. In addition to recreation, conservation lands help the county to protect drinking water, enhance water quality, protect areas from flooding and provide wildlife habitat. For more information, visit www.Conservation2020.org.

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