Located just south of the town of McIntosh on U.S. 441, Orange Lake Overlook (“OLO”) serves as one of the last historic views of “Old Florida.” This 71-acre landscape is a critical wildlife corridor for many of Florida’s native and endangered species, and is commonly known as a timeless glimpse into the cultural and historic qualities of north Florida by those who love it.
Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT) purchased the property for just over $1.3 million, preserving it as conservation land forever.
The purchase, which ACT has been working towards since earlier this year, was made possible with a $1 million bridge loan from The Conservation Fund, an additional bridge loan from a private donor, and over 500 donations from individuals and organizations all over the United States totaling close to $300,000.
“We could not have preserved this unique piece of Florida’s environment without the overwhelming support of the community,” says ACT executive director, Tom Kay. “We will continue to fundraise to pay back the bridge loans and make improvements to the property, but Floridians can rest assured that Orange Lake Overlook will remain a picturesque vista for current and future generations to enjoy.”
ACT plans to open the property up as a nature park once the loans have been paid back. Nature trails and an observation platform will be installed in the future to allow better access to the public.
Photo Credit: Alison Blakeslee