Osprey, FL (March 10, 2020) Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is nearly halfway toward the goal of raising $1.5 million by June 1 to complete the permanent protection of Orange Hammock Ranch. When the $1.5 million is raised, it will in turn bring $19.5 million in Florida Forever dollars to this region, and free up $9 million for other properties that Sarasota County had set aside to purchase Orange Hammock Ranch. This means the community’s contribution will be leveraged 19 times for land conservation.
The community may learn more and donate by calling Conservation Foundation at 941-918-2100 or online at www.conservationfoundation.com/orangehammockranch
On February 4, the Florida State Cabinet voted to purchase Orange Hammock Ranch contingent upon Conservation Foundation’s pledge to raise $1.5 million from the community. Florida Forever funds will contribute $19.5 million toward the $21 million purchase of the 5,777-acre ranch.
Conserving Orange Hammock Ranch has been a major priority for Conservation Foundation for more than 10 years. The Foundation was successful in getting this property added to the Florida Forever list in 2013, and has worked to build public and political support since then.
The ranch is located on the north side of Interstate 75 within the City of North Port. It connects RV Griffin Preserve with the Longino Preserve through about six miles of shared boundaries, and increases the 120,000-acre buffer surrounding the Myakka River and strengthens the connection between the Myakka and Peace Rivers. Immense volumes of rainfall collect on the property and feed the Snover Waterway and RV Griffin reservoirs, both of which are critical sources of North Port’s clean drinking water.
The property is also nearly pristine, with natural areas in better condition than many public lands. Over 200 wetlands are intermixed with pine flatwood, globally-imperiled dry prairie and other native habitat. Given this location and exceptional natural condition, the conservation of Orange Hammock Ranch will have sweeping benefits for regional connectivity, water quality, public recreation, and wildlife habitat. This vast land is home to quail, indigo snake and the Florida black bear. Importantly, the property is connected with 120,000 acres of protected land, making it viable habitat for Florida panther, which are now breeding in nearby Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area.
About Conservation Foundation
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast protects land and water in Southwest Florida for the benefit of humans and nature. Working with landowners, businesses, and government, Conservation Foundation saves land forever, protecting those special natural lands that make this region extraordinary. A nationally accredited land trust, the Foundation purchases natural areas, holds land conservation agreements and educates for responsible land and water stewardship in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier County. Learn more at www.conservationfoundation.com.