By Toni Collins
On December 13, 1977, Charles Hardee, Chairman of the Levy County Board of County Commissioners and Rollin C. Janney, representing the Levy County Planning and Zoning Commission, held a public hearing to consider the proposed purchase of environmentally endangered lands called the Cedar Key Scrub Habitat. There were 18 persons in attendance and there was no opposition to the proposal.
Proponents of the project were E.T.Usher, Chiefland; Fred Kirkland, Chiefland; Charlie Adkins, Chiefland; Dewey D. Allen, Inglis; Carl Pierce, Tallahassee, Florida Div of Forestry; and Joe L. Cobb, Realtor, Dunnellon.
Senator Usher, speaking on behalf of his family and others, owners of about 60% of the acreage involved, enthusiastically endorsed acquisition by the state. The meeting was conducted by John F. Davis of the Division of Recreation and Parks in Tallahassee.
Davis explained the subject property consists primarily of unspoiled sand pine scrub, scrubby flatwoods, pine flatwoods, and associated swamps and marshes. The area is a valuable wildlife habitat which supports a number of threatened species, including the scrubjay.
A year later, the Executive Board of the Division of Recreation and Parks authorized the acquisition of lands within the Cedar Key Scrub Habitat Environmentally Endangered Lands Project which encompassed 4.988 acres of land at a cost of $1,543,604. 4,033.118 acres were located above mean high water and 954.882 acres below mean high water.
Today this unique recreation acre located on SR 24 near Cedar Key is dominated by species such as sand live oak, myrtle oak and Chapman’s oak, along with rusty lyonia and saw palmetto. The shallow waters and numerous creeks near the salt marshes are ideal for canoeing and kayaking.