Just the Facts
Why it Matters
Orange Hammock Ranch is a 5,777-acre property within the City of North Port that has been identified by local and state agencies and environmental leaders as the top priority for permanent protection. The property was identified by Sarasota County in 1998 as a critical natural protection area, and Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast added the property to the State's Florida Forever list of land acquisition priorities in 2014. Sarasota County and Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) have tried repeatedly to protect this property for decades. Since 2014, Conservation Foundation has been building public awareness and political support for its purchase. Now it is time for the community to ensure that the land is protected forever. Your support can assist Conservation Foundation in its ongoing work to finally permanently conserve.
The ranch is located on the north side of Interstate 75 in the City of North Port. It connects RV Griffin Preserve with the Longino Preserve through approximately six miles of shared boundaries, and strengthens the 120,000-acre buffer along the Myakka River and the connection between the Myakka and Peace Rivers. It is estimated that 60-75% of the property is wetland or within the 100-year flood plain. Immense volumes of rainfall collect on the property and feed Snover Waterway and Myakkahatchee Creek, both if which are a critical source of North Port’s drinking water.
The property is also nearly pristine, with natural areas in better condition than many public lands. Hundreds of wetlands are intermixed with pine flatwood, globally-imperiled dry prairie and other native habitats. Given this location and exceptional natural condition, the conservation of Orange Hammock Ranch will have sweeping benefits for regional connectivity, wildlife habitat, water quality, and public recreation. This vast land is home to quail, indigo snake, and the Florida black bear. 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.
Need To Know
We are now at a critical stage in the effort to permanently protect Orange Hammock Ranch, forever.
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is actively raising $1.5 million by June 1 in order to permanently protect the 5,777-acre Orange Hammock Ranch. On February 4, the Florida Cabinet voted to purchase Orange Hammock Ranch contingent on Conservation Foundation’s pledge. Florida Forever funds will contribute $19.5 million toward the purchase.
March 20 Update -The State commitment is secure as the funds were appropriated in the current fiscal year. Understandably, the State’s fiscal year beginning July 1 may be quite different as our governor and legislators review the budget in the context of our current and anticipated economic and health hardships. Decisions will be made for the good of the whole, to help our economy get back on its feet. There is no telling what the future might hold, but now, more than ever, we need to fulfill our commitment of raising $1.5 million for Orange Hammock Ranch by June 1st.
Your gift will be leveraged 19 times! Here's how: Your gift for Orange Hammock Ranch will unlock $19.5 million from the State of Florida and release $9 million to be used for other land conservation projects that Sarasota County reserved for the purchase of Orange Hammock Ranch. ($19.5M plus $9M = $28.5M divided by $1.5M = 19)
This 5,777-acre property helps protect North Port's drinking water, reduces flood risk and will provide access to the public for recreation and eco-tourism opportunities.
Protecting Orange Hammock Ranch is part of our ambitious Myakka Island Conservation Corridor project, striving to preserve 10,000 acres in the Myakka River watershed. Join our conservation community and help us protect this ranch and other critical natural lands, forever.
Landscape photos by SRQ360 Photography