At the core of Forever Florida is our mission to conserve and preserve natural, wild Florida. The Sunshine State, while well known for our picturesque beaches and palm trees, is also home to a diverse collection of native plants and animals who are right at home in the swamp and prairie lands in the center of the state. Conserving these species of plants and animals as well as preserving the rich history of the native people and early settlers who called this unique ecosystem home is the reason Forever Florida exists, and the most important aspect of our Adventure Park. Conserving wild Florida is our reason behind all of Forever Florida.
The Allen Broussard Conservancy
To understand why Forever Florida is rooted in conservation, it is important to learn about the Allen Broussard Conservancy (ABC). The organization was founded by William and Margaret Broussard following the untimely death of their son Allen. Allen grew up playing in the natural and untouched land that Forever Florida now sits on and his deep love and passion for preserving all of it drove him to become a Wildlife Biologist. His dream was for all of the land to be preserved and for people to be educated on why the wild Florida landscape is so important to the ecosystem. The Broussards have been working tirelessly to purchase the St. Cloud land as a way to honor his legacy through conservation, preservation, and education. Through Forever Florida and the Crescent J Ranch, The ABC is able to enlighten adventure seekers on the way Florida was, before tourists, trains, and telephones. Every guest who visits Forever Florida leaves with a new understanding of how important it is to protect natural ecosystems and a wildly new view of Florida – far removed from the sand and surf.
Florida is one of the most diverse states, ecologically, in the US. Home to thousands of species of fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals as well as lush swamplands that harbor hundreds of species of native trees, shrubs, and other plants. Conserving the habitats for these creatures and plants is no small feat. With land development constantly looming, and disruption of past development, restoration and conservation of wild Florida is a full-time job. In the 1940s, the land Forever Florida occupies was completely harvested of its native trees and deserted. Over the following decades, the land went back to nature and became a refuge for animals fleeing urban development. By the time the Broussards acquired the land much of the native flora had recovered and now the land is home to 130 thousand native trees, including Live Oak, Southern Magnolia, Southern Red Cedar, Bald and Pond Cypress, Longleaf, Loblolly and Slash Pine. Other types of trees that have been planted to restore the land to its former glory are: Tupelo, Water Hickory, Pignut Hickory, Water Oak, Swamp Bay, Swamp Chestnut Oak, Sand Live Oak, Chapman’s Oak, Turkey Oak, Hercules Club, Acacia, Mulberry, Cabbage Palms, and Sweet Gum.
The animals that live on the conservancy are also extremely important to the health of the land. Florida Alligators, Osceola Turkeys, Deer, Bobcats, Racoons, Vultures, Crested Caracaras, Bald Eagles, Egrets, Ibis, Storks, Herons, Owls, Jays, Snakes, armadillos, turtles, tortoises, and hundreds of other Florida natives help to preserve the ecosystem while providing exciting views for visitors of Forever Florida. When you take a Trail Buggy Adventure, your driver can educate you on every type of animal you see and how they contribute to the overall health of the ecosystem.
Preservation of Florida
Another tenant of Forever Florida is educating visitors on the history of Cracker Florida. Much of Florida’s history has been made by the cowboys and early settlers. The Crescent J Ranch is a working ranch that is home to three endangered breeds of livestock that helped bolster the economy of Florida in the early 1800s, Florida Cracker Cattle, Florida Cracker Horses and Santa Cruz Horses. This ranch gives visitors a glimpse of how Florida came to be, and shows the hardships these ranchers had to deal with to make a living so long ago. The way in which these settlers lived in harmony with wild Florida is a testament to the fact that we can still do this today.
We hope that every visit to Forever Florida for our Zipline Adventure or Rattlesnake Thrill Pack inspires visitors to do their part to conserve the land they live on. We hope that understanding how an ecosystem can be honored by human development without demolishing it and that preservation of our native species is possible.