Michelle Rau

1 minute reading time (298 words)

Prairie Creek Preserve

Prairie Creek Preserve

As promised, here’s another swampy gem that I enjoy exploring…Prairie Creek Preserve. This property is adjacent to the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail near Rochelle (about 10 miles east of Gainesville) and encompasses about 368 acres that were acquired from five owners from 2004 to 2008, primarily with funds from Florida Communities Trust.

The Prairie Creek Watershed drains Newnan's Lake (a 6,000-acre lake west of the city) from the south on its way to Paynes Prairie and Orange Lake. Historically, the river drained into Paynes Prairie state preserve, providing the Prairie basin with much needed water. But in the early 1940s, Camp's Canal was constructed by the Camp family to divert most of the water to Orange Lake in order to block Prairie Creek from flooding the Prairie (www.gainesvillecreeks.org).

The Prairie Creek Preserve tract offers several miles of trails that wind through mixed hardwood hammocks, planted pine trees, and natural wetlands. The three main trails in the preserve are named for land conservation activists Jane Walker, Kathy Cantwell, and Susan Wright. The Jane Walker trail is one of my favorites. It’s about a 20- to 30-minute walk one way through a hardwood hammock that transitions into a cypress swamp and ends at the peaceful Prairie Creek. There is a picnic table that offers a place to sit for a spell and enjoy the scenery.

This trail system is not always accessible; sometimes it’s performing its natural function by storing flood-waters and providing a slow recharge to the aquifer. I love seeing the swamp full of water. When I walked here last spring, the creek was completely dry. It really gives you an appreciation for how dynamic the system is from season to season. I recommend a nice walk in the woods followed by a live concert at the Prairie Creek Lodge.

Grammar: Your vs. You’re
Sediment Testing Interference Series – Introductio...

Related Posts



Already Registered? Login Here
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

©2006-2016 ANAMAR Environmental Consulting, Inc. | Web design & hosting provided by Blu Dove Designs

Gainesville, FL (352) 377-5770
Portland, OR (503) 220-1641
Fax: (352) 378-7620 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.