ACT helps secure Santa Fe Canoe Outpost for the City of High Springs

November 22, 2021

Gainesville, Florida – Early this month, Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT) helped fund the purchase of the Santa Fe Canoe Outpost for the City of High Springs. The Santa Fe Canoe Outpost is located on the banks of the Santa Fe River in Historic High Springs, where it draws in visitors from across the world to paddle, camp and enjoy some of Florida’s most pristine conservation lands and clear blue springs.

According to Damon Messina, Recreation Director of the City of High Springs, the acquisition of this property achieves multiple goals. The purchase of the Outpost provides educational services to the community, opens opportunities to partner with local schools and organizations for programs and events, extends its economic force in the community by bringing thousands of visitors to the area and ensures the continued protection of a significant environmental asset.

“The purchase of the Santa Fe Canoe Outpost by the City of High Springs will provide recreational access along the Santa Fe River for paddlers and campers,” said ACT executive director, Tom Kay. “The property’s protection under a conservation easement will ensure that the land will continue to offer passive recreational access to the river without the future threat of high-impact development on the site. We are grateful to Jim and Sally Wood for working with the City of High Springs and ACT to conserve this beautiful property and recreational asset that has a rich history in our region.”

The City’s $425,000 share of the purchase came from the Alachua County’s Wild Spaces & Public Places Program. ACT’ contributed $175,000 toward the purchase, which was gifted by a private donor. The City also donated a conservation easement on the property to ACT to conserve the bottomland hardwood forest on the land, ensuring the property continues to operate as a place for outdoor passive recreational use.

The City’s planned upgrades for the facility include replacing the boardwalk to the river and adding secure railings, replacing the dock, remodeling the bathrooms to make them A.D.A. compliant and improving the signage at the entrance along U.S. Highway 441.

Owned and operated by Jim and Sally Wood since 1990, the Santa Fe Canoe Outpost offers fully outfitted canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard and camping trips.

2021 has been the year of the Santa Fe River for ACT. This is the fifth major project on the Santa Fe to close this year. ACT also acquired 195 acres in Columbia County known as Little Awesome Preserve, as well as 133 acres on the upper Santa Fe River in Bradford County. Over the summer, the Lundgren family donated a conservation easement on 278 acres along the Santa Fe River in Alachua and Bradford Counties to ACT. Most recently, ACT acquired a 160-acre inholding in River Rise Preserve State Park, which ACT plans to sell to the state so that it can be owned and managed as part of the State Park.

Over 62% of the Santa Fe River is protected, and ACT is working to protect an additional 75,000 acres along the river by 2045.

For more information about Alachua Conservation Trust or River Rise Inholding, call (352) 373-1078 or email

Banner image by Kim Davidson.