It is also a U.S. National Natural Landmark. It is crossed by both I-75 and U.S. 441 (which has a scenic outlook ramp). It is in the center of the Paynes Prairie Basin. The basin's primary source of drainage is Alachua Sink. During occasional wet periods, the basin will become full. A notable period occurred from 1871 to 1891 when the Alachua Sink was temporarily blocked. During this period, shallow draft steamboats were a frequent sight on Alachua Lake in the center of the prairie. The region was also historically known as the Alachua Savannah. Its drainage has been modified by several canals. Since 1927, Camps Canal has linked the basin to the River Styx which leads to Orange Lake and eventually the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Johns River. That reduced the basins water intake by half. Additional changes to the prairie's environment have been detrimental to its hydrology. In 1970, the state of Florida acquired the land and has been in the process of restoring the environment to a more natural condition ever since.HistoryRancho la ChuaBefore 1637, Francisco Menéndez Márquez the royal treasurer of Spanish Florida established Rancho la Chua in the vicinity of Paynes Prairie. It spanned 87sqmi and would be by the late 17th-century the largest cattle ranch in the colony. It was raided several times by various Native groups and by French bucc
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Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a Florida State Park, encompassing a 21000acre savanna in Micanopy, Florida, south of Gainesville.
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Recommended Ratings & Reviews
This is a beautiful state park in the greater Gainesville area. Great place for hiking, camping or a nature walk. As a UF alum and former Gainesville resident, whenever I see the prairie from the interstate I think "almost home"!
Cons: They've had some recent flooding with the hurricanes so check out the status before making a trip.