Program History

In 1964, the State first began setting aside money to purchase public land with the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF). This fund focused on buying properties for outdoor recreation and conservation. The State of Florida’s environmental efforts to buy tracts of land to protect them increased with the passage of the Environmental Land & Water Management Act of 1972. This action also led to the Land Conservation Act, which allotted 200 million dollars to buy environmentally endangered lands (EEL) and another 40 million dollars to enhance outdoor recreation lands.

 The Conservation and Recreational Lands (CARL) program was established by the Florida legislature in 1979 to acquire lands of environmental and cultural significance. In 1989, the CARL program was replaced by Preservation 2000 and the funding increased to three billion dollars for conservation land purchases. In 1998, a replacement program called Florida Forever broadened the land purchasing criteria to include historical preservation.

 Through these conservation land purchases—typically managed as state preserves, state parks, historic sites, or wildlife management areas—the state of Florida has acquired many properties of considerable archaeological significance. Many undiscovered sites existed on public lands, but they were not well known due to a general lack of systematic, professional archaeological surveying. Consequently, beginning in 1989, CARL management funds were allocated annually to the Florida Division of Historical Resources to provide land managers with the necessary information to effectively manage archaeological and historical resources on land purchased or proposed for purchase through conservation lands programs.