Gainesville, FL

Preserved for nature, now the county wants to add parking lots.

Matthew C. Woodruff

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Four Creeks SignageOriginal

If you have lived in Gainesville for any length of time, you will likely remember the large ‘For Sale’ signs that appeared on the 700+ acre tract of undeveloped land between north Hwy 441 (13th St.) and 43rd St. Likely you looked at it with a little apprehension, considering many areas in Gainesville have seen undeveloped land turn into five-story condominiums, shopping centers or developments with thousands of homes.

That didn’t happen, thanks in great part to concerned and active residents whose hard work paid off when in September 2018 the 715-acre undeveloped land turned into a preserve, jointly owned by the City of Gainesville and Alachua County.

"Many people helped by signing petitions, going to meetings and offering encouragement. I am very grateful to all of them, and it proves a handful of peaceful, rational people can influence city/county hall," Gail Dewsbury, a leading proponent of the preserve said in a recent interview.

The name Four Creeks comes from Turkey Creek, Blues Creek, Possum Creek and Hogtown Creek, which flow through the preserve. The landscape in the preserve is amazingly varied. One minute you are deep in the woods and another minute it’s bushes as far as you can see.

The preserve advertises a 2.5-mile trail loop. There are two trails that form the loop, the Yellow Trail and the Blue Trail. Markings on the trees and some signs along the trail make it easy to follow. A map is also available. “I don’t usually walk the trails after a rain,” Gail said. “The Blue Trail is often wet for quite a while. Just remember that blue stands for water.”

Now the Alachua County Parks and Conservation wants to add parking lots (currently there are none) and additional access for the public. One current entrance is in the middle of a quiet neighborhood, the other on busy Hwy 441 in a high-speed area. To have a say in the proposed changes, or to just find out what changes might be coming to this beautiful nature preserve, attend the public meeting at Trinity United Methodist Church at 4000 NW 53rd Ave. on Wednesday, July 27th at 6:00 pm.

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Matthew is a free-lance journalist, and an internationally award-winning author best known for Dark Humor/Lite Horror/Supernatural short stories. He is a lover of the unusual, travel, cats and people's souls. Matthew is based in Florida, USA.

Gainesville, FL
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