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Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park

July 27, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State ParkGold Head Branch State Park is one of Florida’s oldest state parks. It’s 2,000 acres include sandhills, marshes, ravines, lakes, wildlife, and hiking trails to explore.

Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park is just 20 minutes away from our North Central Florida inn, Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast. The historic state park is located between Gainesville and Jacksonville, six miles north of Keystone Heights on SR 21.

The park was developed in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the first New Deal agency to begin operations in Florida. The CCC constructed a number of parks and facilities throughout Florida during the 1930’s and Gold Head Branch State Park was one of the first. The CCC’s extraordinary craftsmanship is still in evidence in the park today and one reason to visit.

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Take A Hike – at Gainesville’s Sweetwater Wetlands Park!

February 23, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Sweetwater Wetlands ParkSweetwater Wetlands Park in Gainesville, Fl is more than 125 acres of man-made wetland habitat. Designed to improve water quality and act as a wildlife preserve, the park has since become one of North Central Florida’s best birding areas!

Not too long ago, we told you about the amazing wildlife and scenery to be found at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Well, one the reasons Paynes Prairie Preserve is so pristine is due to Sweetwater Wetlands Park.

Prior to the creation of Sweetwater Wetlands, the area’s water quality was beginning to suffer. Further, ranchers in the 1930s dug a ditch to drain part of Paynes Prairie in order to expand grazing areas. The ditch they dug fed directly to Alachua Sink and dehydrated more than 1,300 acres of prairie wetlands.

Over the decades, the Alachua Sink, which directly connects to the Floridan Aquifer, built up an excess of nitrogen from all the urban runoff and wastewater. Soon, it was clear something must be done to reverse this damage.

The solution was the Paynes Prairie Sheetflow Restoration Project. The project’s mission was to reinvigorate the natural water filtration via the restoration of wetland habitat along the northern rim of Paynes Prairie. At the same time, they created an environmentally friendly park, filled with plants and animals: Sweetwater Wetlands Park!

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