The land we know today as “Babcock Ranch Preserve” was purchased by the state in 2005, as part of the Florida Forever program. The land covers 70,000 acres of preserved land that has tremendous ecological value.
The Babcock Ranch purchase was one of the most prolific land purchases in the program’s history. Since its inception in July of 2001, the state has purchased over 800,000 acres of land with a little over $3.1 billion through the Florida Forever Program.
What Is the Florida Forever Program?
The Florida Forever program was developed by the state to conserve Florida’s natural land & resources. As the largest program of its kind in the United States, Florida Forever encompasses a wide range of environmental goals – including water resource development and supply, increased public access, public lands management and maintenance, and increased protection of land by the acquisition of conservation easements.
Land acquisition is a huge part of the Florida Forever program. Due to rapid development in Florida, many environmental resources are being depleted. Through the purchase of land, the state is able to preserve wildlife, improve water quality, and promote the overall protection of the environment for our state.
A council called the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) consisting of members of state agencies, and citizens who have backgrounds in specific scientific and environmental disciplines. They work together to review projects and decide what lands get purchased by the state to become part of the Florida Forever program.
Babcock Ranch & Florida Forever
When Babcock Ranch was purchased as part of Florida Forever, the state ensured this historic site would be preserved for future generations. The preserve protects the environmental resources, through the Babcock Ranch Preserve act which preserves the agricultural, scientific, scenic, geological, watershed, fish, wildlife, historic, cultural, and recreational values of the area.
The agricultural integrity of the land is maintained by keeping the fully operating cattle ranch intact. The preserve is also is home to a number of endangered species, such as the crested caracara, gopher tortoise, Florida burrowing owl, Florida panther, Florida black bear, and several native and migratory birds. The area spans a diverse number of ecosystems, with pinelands, dry prairie, and cypress swamp. The wetlands contribute to aquifer recharge and help maintain the health of the Western Everglades ecosystem.
Immerse Yourself in the Heart of Florida at Babcock Ranch
A very important part of the Babcock Ranch Preserve is creating recreational opportunities for the community to enjoy nature and learn more about the history and environment in Florida.
One of the only ways you can explore Florida’s diverse ecosystem and see wildlife in their natural habitat is on an eco-tour of Babcock Ranch. 7 days a week, we offer guided eco-tours where you will travel through the 4 ecosystems of Babcock Ranch, see the Crescent B Ranch, as well as all the various flora and fauna in the preserve. Our expert guides will narrate the tour and give you a unique blend of information on history and wildlife, as you experience nature like you have never seen before.
Click here to book an eco-tour of Babcock Ranch today!