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February 17, 2006

Payne's Prarie

The prarie basin and its surrounding uplands have been a center of human activity for over 12,000 years. In the late 1600s the largest cattle ranch in Spanish Florida, La Chua, operated here. In 1774 Philadelphia botanist William Bartram (called "Puc Puggy" of "Flower Hunter" by the Seminole) described the basin as "the Great Alachua Savannah." It is thought to have been named for King Payne, the Seminole chief who fought here during the First Seminole War.

Heavy raind began to flood the basin in 1871 and by 1873 the marsh was large enough to be called Alachua Lake, where steam powered boats transported lumber, goods and passengers. In 1891 Alachua Sink, the main drain for the basin, became unclogged and by 1892 the character of the marsh had returned. By 1903 cattleman William Camp began cattle operations on the lush, green prarie grasses.

Bison and Wild Horses can be seen roaming the prarie. Bison disappeared from Florida in the early 1800s, but were reintroduced in 1975. The wild horses are descendents of those brought over by the Spanish in the early 1500s and left to roam free after the British raids in the early 1600s.

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How many birds can you find? Hint: There is more than one!

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Posted by Heather at February 17, 2006 06:59 PM

Comments

I never thought that I would learn so much from your blog. Its addicting really. During the day at work when I'm bored, I often check it to see what new and exciting things you've seen and done. I've learned so much about Florida from you, things I twould probably never know.

But horribly there was one terrible drawback.

Because I've been in total envy of all the sun and sand you've gotten lately. I decided to go tanning and got burned. I got burned at a tanning salon. Yeah....

Posted by: Nicole at February 20, 2006 11:26 PM

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