An important step was taken towards environmental preservation and community recreation with the unanimous approval by the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to acquire a significant 68-acre property along the Manatee River.
This decision, made on December 12, 2023, marks a commitment to safeguarding natural spaces for future enjoyment. The property, known as Crooked River Ranch, is aptly named for the meandering Manatee River that borders it to the south. Located in the growing community of Parrish, halfway between I-75 and Ft. Hamer Road, this area was once a prime target for development.
The acquisition of this waterfront property is a key part of the county’s conservation efforts. It was achieved through collaborative efforts between Manatee County staff and the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast (CFGC). The property was purchased for $11.2 million, securing one of the last substantial privately-owned waterfront parcels along the Manatee River for the county.
This move is in line with the county’s efforts to preserve aspects of ‘Old Florida’ in areas facing rapid development. The property’s preservation is intended to maintain the unique character of the Parrish community.
The site will contribute to coastal resilience, water quality enhancement, and the protection of native habitats. This acquisition is a strategic implementation of funds from the Environmental Lands Program, dedicated to the acquisition, improvement, and management of land for protecting natural resources and creating parks.
The decision to preserve this land has been hailed as a significant win for both the environment and the community.
The conservation of Crooked River Ranch is especially beneficial to local wildlife, including manatees, which feed on the shoreline’s vegetation. The preserve will also support other endangered species like roseate spoonbills and wood storks. Its accessibility from I-75 makes it a prospective regional destination, attracting both visitors and residents of the rapidly expanding northeast Manatee County.
The finalization of the property purchase is anticipated in early 2024, marking a significant milestone in the region’s commitment to environmental stewardship and recreational planning.