Sunday, January 08, 2006
Paynes Prairie Today
Paynes Prairie was called the the great Alachua Savannah when William Bartram, a botanist, came traipsing through Florida. The Spanish had established a cattle ranch in this area in the 1600's (sorry Texas, Kansas, and any other state that thinks of themselves as cattle country...we did it first). The ranch was called La Chua, hence the name Alachua which is carried by a county and a town in the area. That ranch and the chain of Spanish missions in the area were long gone by the time Billy Bartram went plant collecting here in the 1770's.
He was pretty impressed with the wildlife and scenery and wrote a neat little travel guide. It's a wonderful read. This post is not about Bartram however, it's about this enormous wet prairie just outside the town of Micanopy. (mick-uh-no-pee)
Florida has even more extensive prairie south of Orlando, but Paynes Prairie is pretty respectable. It's part of our state park system and their site says it is 21,000 acres. The prairie sits in a bowl of surrounding high ground. Through time it has alternated between a full fledged lake that supported steamboats and a grassland...although sometimes a pretty wet one.
The photo above and the other posted today were all taken from the side of highway 441...I didn't even get my feet wet.
Posted by R.Powers at 4:40 PM