History of the Archbold Reserve
In July 2002, Archbold Biological Station purchased 3,648 acres (1,476 ha) along the Station’s western boundary from the J.M. McJunkin Family Limited Partnership. The purchase was funded by a private donation to Archbold, which is an ecological research facility founded by Richard Archbold in 1941. The McJunkin family was pleased with the sale to Archbold; David McJunkin noted that “it is rare nowadays to sell a family ranch in Florida and still be able to look forward to coming back in the future years to visit a landscape that will look pretty similar to the one we grew up in as kids.”
The purchased land includes large sections of native scrub, flatwoods, and remnant cutthroat grass communities, with a substantial number of exotic-grass pastures still supporting an active cattle operation. Many special and interesting species of conservation concern have been documented to occur on the Reserve, including Eastern Indigo Snakes, Florida Sand Skinks, Florida Scrub-Jays, Burrowing Owls, and Crested Caracaras.
Archbold’s acquisition of the Reserve was contingent on the sale of an additional 730 acres (295 ha) of scrub habitat (bordering the northern boundary of the Reserve) owned by the McJunkin family to the State of Florida. This forms a landscape linkage between Archbold Biological Station, the Reserve, and parcels within the Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Area managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The Reserve is located in the Fisheating Creek sub-watershed of the Northern Everglades watershed, an area of focus for both local and statewide conservation efforts. Currently, efforts are being made to study and protect the unique species and habitats found on the Reserve, as well as restore hydrology and ecological function of wetlands and other disturbed communities in this agricultural landscape.
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