Barr Hammock Preserve is a 5,700-acre preserve in Micanopy, Florida, with 6.8 miles of elevated natural trails, providing views of wildlife for walkers, hikers, and birdwatchers. A muggy and rainy climate makes timber boardwalks slippery in the area, and Alachua County wanted to find a safer solution for visitors that was also durable and long-lasting.
An additional challenge for this project was the preserve itself. Built on an expansive levee system, the preserve trails are surrounded by marshes and wetland, and the natural habitats of birds, frogs, and alligators could not be disturbed during construction. It was important that the boardwalk’s foundations didn’t disturb the site, and the County wanted a solution that would require minimal maintenance to leave the area as untouched as possible.
Alachua County wanted to learn more about the PermaTrak system, so President Jason Philbin traveled to Florida to provide more information about the product before design began.
Designer JBrown Professional Group’s product research resulted in the discovery of several factors that made PermaTrak a perfect solution for this project. Precast concrete is a noncombustible material, a key advantage in an area that is prone to wildfires. The concrete system minimizes maintenance needs while a sandblast texture on the walking surface provides traction in a moist and humid environment. Foundations were meticulously placed around live oak roots to avoid disturbance to the roots and prevent future damage to the boardwalk.
PermaTrak’s design flexibility was another key benefit for the project, as the boardwalk design could accomodate curves and larger spans between foundations (up to 20 feet). Kelly McPherson, Senior Environmental Specialist with Alachua County, elaborates, stating, “Permatrak did a great job supplying custom pieces in a timely manner. Overall, the project is attractive and hopefully long-lasting.”