When a group of about 60 people hiked into Loblolly Woods on Sunday morning, they marched to experience the natural beauty of a piece of public property and to oppose a City Commission proposal.
Nathan Collier, owner of the Collier Companies apartment complexes, has offered the City of Gainesville $1 million for a five-acre portion of Loblolly Woods.
But some residents say accepting the offer means the demise of a piece of public property, which is about 10 minutes away from Midtown.
Local activists and neighbors organized the hike to persuade the City Commission to deny Collier’s offer, said Jonathan Dain, who has lived just yards away from Loblolly Woods for 14 years.
Dain welcomed some friends and many strangers to the cul-de-sac in front of his home at 10:30 a.m.
After a brief introduction about the property and its rare plant life by UF biologist and professor Michael Andreu, the group hiked into the woods.
The attendees were diverse: children, young parents and retirees.
One of the hikers was 7-year-old Carl, who clutched a map of Loblolly as he trekked down the narrow dirt path with his 3-year-old sister, Hazel, and their father, Michael Jury.
Carl regularly takes “exploring walks” down the trails through the public property, his father said.
“I think it’s beautiful that we have this within the city limits,” Jury said.
For Carl, the issue is a simple one.
“Everyone knows parks are for everyone,” he said.
The City Commission is slated to vote on the sale at the upcoming Sept. 5 commission meeting.
A version of this story originally ran on page 5 on 8/26/2013 under the headline "Activist-organized hike opposes sale of Loblolly Woods"
Loblolly Woods, a city-owned property about 10 minutes away from Midtown, is potentially up for sale. Activists organized an awareness hike along its trails on Sunday.