Land acquisition to add 290 acres to Goethe State Forest

Goethe Addition
Goethe State Park will manage the newly acquired Goethe Addition.
Courtesy of ACT

Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT) has facilitated the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) recent acquisition of a 290-acre property known as the “Goethe Addition.”  

The Goethe Addition was acquired through the Florida Forever program, a state conservation and recreation lands acquisition program. Goethe State Forest will manage the property, which spans southwest Alachua County and northeast Levy County. 

The addition is located in the heart of the Watermelon Pond conservation area and contains one of the last native longleaf pine landscapes in North Florida, according to an ACT press release.  

Become A Member

Mainstreet does not have a paywall, but pavement-pounding journalism is not free. Join your neighbors who make this vital work possible.

“Watermelon Pond itself is a sprawling complex of ponds, sloughs, and prairies,” the ACT press release said. “It is a haven for birds, including wood storks, bald eagles, and the northernmost population of Florida burrowing owls.”  

The Watermelon Pond conservation area includes public lands managed by Alachua County, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Florida Forest Service.  

The lands are popular destinations for hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, and horseback riding, the ACT press release said. 

“Land acquisitions like this one are successful because of Florida’s cooperative partnerships with organizations like Alachua Conservation Trust,” said Callie DeHaven, DEP’s director of division of state lands. “Our state is leading the nation’s conservation efforts.” 

The press release said the state will manage the Goethe Addition the conservation and protection of natural and historical resources and resource-based public outdoor recreation. 

“As a former Senior Forest Ranger at Goethe State Forest in the mid-1990s and manager for the Waccasassa Forestry Center, this acquisition hits close to home personally,” said Rick Dolan, director of the Florida Forest Service. “Our mission is to preserve these lands for future generations, and this property is another piece of forestland we can help protect from future development.” 

The acquisition was the result of cooperative efforts between ACT, DEP and the Florida Forest Service. ACT represented the landowners and helped them navigate the Florida Forever transaction process. 

“We are thrilled that this property will be permanently protected as part of Goethe State Forest,” said Tom Kay, ACT’s executive director. “We are grateful to our partners, particularly Florida DEP and the Florida Forest Service for their persistence in making this project happen. We also thank the landowners for recognizing the conservation significance of their land and their perseverance in seeing this process through to completion.” 

The Goethe Addition and the surrounding public lands are part of the nearly 13,000-acre Watermelon Pond area. 

“I am pleased that the land will be protected,” said William Collins, one of the landowners involved in the sale. “As a long-term Florida resident, I appreciate the conservation value of the property and am glad that it will be managed as part of the State Forest.” 

Goethe addition map
Courtesy of ACT A map showing the Goethe Addition.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments