Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet on Tuesday approved the state acquisition of the 465-acre Silver Springs Sandhill site located next to Coehadjoe Park, 4225 NE 35th St., Ocala, near Silver Springs.
The project site shares boundaries with Coehadjoe Park and Indian Lake State Forest, enhancing the open space connections between conservation lands, to the tune of more than 5,000 acres. The site will be managed by Marion County Parks and Recreation and will make available outstanding prospects for outdoor recreation.
Marion County’s partnership with the state of Florida to acquire the Silver Springs Sandhill site underscores an ongoing county priority to attract more visitors and capital to Marion County through unmatched ecotourism, while providing for the protection of environmental lands and parks for future generations.
“While we have great open spaces and places to enjoy, acquisition projects with springs protection objectives remain a priority,” said Carl Zalak, III, chairman of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners. “We are pleased to be working with partner agencies to make this acquisition a reality.”
During the June 2015 meeting of the Acquisition and Restoration Council in Tallahassee, the council voted to add the Silver Springs Sandhill project to the Florida’s First Magnitude Springs Florida Forever project list.
The pace of the acquisition is a testament to the importance this site carries related to protecting Silver Springs. The site is located less than one mile from the headsprings and within the “Most Vulnerable” zone of the Marion County Aquifer Vulnerability Assessment, or MCAVA, map. This trait signifies the importance the Silver Springs Sandhill site due to the rapidly percolating sandy soils and the proximity of the springs.