Liberty Nature Preserve
SQUARE CAN BE BORING
I have this knack for finding the unusual, and Liberty is no departure. At first glance, even I was turned off by the dimensions and shape, but it's charm grows on you. It is a compilation of 4 different parcels that total 44 acres. Yep, my access drive is 2 1/2 acres alone. As you study the topographical map below, it starts to make a little more sense. I had a real hard time understanding the 10 acre parcel and how it was attached to the block of 28 acres, but it is my belief that the original owner of the entire block of real estate that this mass was carved from knew that there was a pond within the 10 Acre area and attempted to capture and attach it. The notes and dam site are my work; the topographical map is the U.S. Geological Survey's work.
I suppose the 3.228 Acre parcel needs a little explanation, also. When we purchased the original mass, it was about 41 Acres and did not include the 3.228 piece....keep reading.
IS A POND POSSIBLE?
When we walked the original 41 Acre piece, I already knew that there was a potential for a decent pond based on studying the aerial and topo's that are available on the internet. I was having a hard time, though, "seeing the forest for the trees" as I sat in front of the computer, flipping screens and analyzing the possibilities. The weird shape, the apparent shallow pond area, the long access lane, and mostly the possibility of the pond quickly running up onto the neighboring property thru the 2 draws that run north....all this turned me off. NOTE: if you look closely at the property lines on the topo map above, you can see where I erased the parcel division line between the 10 Ac and the 3.228 Ac piece. It was the northern boundary of the original 41 Ac purchase. You can see my concern for the way the water would quickly run up onto the bordering parcels to the north thru the 2 draws. Ok, back to the story.......This was originally on my "B" list of purchase potentials. In fact, we were on our way back from examining another parcel about 40 miles away from this one when we decided to just "stop by for the heck of it". There are two 10 Acre parcels that border the access lane; one north and one south. Both are developed nearer the road with homes. Dan and Carrie live in one; Tim and Misty in the other. Well, Dan and Carrie were out when we approached for the first time so I quickly took advantage and introduced myself. Dan provided super information and we were quickly charmed into step 2.....walking the parcel. The next day, we came back for the the first visual exposure. You have to remember that I have examined and considered numerous parcels for "pond-ability", so I know the terrain that I am looking for. When I first came upon the area that I was so anxious to see, I knew we had jumped from the "B" list to the "A" list. We fell in love with it right there and then...but....what about those draws. OK, the next day we returned (again) with a game plan. We are going to shoot preliminary elevations of the proposed pond area and if it's gonna work, we will make an offer that evening. We worked up and down the draws, measuring from corner stakes, some estimating and some math. We put the laser and tripod to the test and the results were good. A pond will go in here, although it may not be super deep. I estimated about 10 feet at the dam before any excavation. We made an offer and ultimately purchased the 41 Acres.
SO WHERE DOES THE 3.228 ACRES COME INTO PLAY?
The limiting elevations for the water level will be dictated by the 2 draws that run up to the north. The east draw runs directly up to an existing parcel that is developed with a home, so this one is etched in stone. The west draw has some flexibility. The property directly north and adjacent to this west draw was for sale as part of a larger block. Strangely enough, this same draw limited the water height by about 3 feet more than the east draw, so eliminating this area as a concern will really help the project. Enter Vernon and Toni; they own the block that is for sale to the north. This is when I discovered another charm of the area in Vernon and Toni. We discussed our plan and dream and they fully support the project. Then, they offered the option of capturing the required timber acreage that I needed to own the west draw....we jumped on it. Knowing property values (particularly for small parcels like 3 acres) the deal was extremely fair and we owe Vernon and Toni a debt of gratitude for allowing this tiny deal to transpire. Liberty Nature Preserve is now 44 acres.
IS IT ALL WOODS?
No, it isn't. There is a 1.75 Acre, square-ish area in one corner of the 28 acre block that is a nice rolling meadow. It is surrounded on two sides by the Liberty timber, one side is a narrow tree line that separates it from the farm on the other side, and the fourth side is exposed to the same farm as is wraps around.
It is mostly wild grass and weeds, with a little dirt mound near the middle. In the grand scheme, we foresee this as a good place to develop native grasses and quail cover. What a great place to develop nice deep grassy vegetation and build a small viewing platform like a gazebo. Oh, to dream........
ALL RIGHT, HOW 'BOUT AN AERIAL VIEW OF THE PROJECT....
This photo was extracted from the United States Geological Survey. It was taken in April of 1998; I added the approximate property boundaries.
The bare area in the north-east corner of the 28 Acre block is the approx 1.75 Ac meadow; the dark spot within is the dirt hill. To the west of that same area is a small opening in the timber. This is the existing pond area. At the top, just outside the boundary, is a thumb-shaped clearing that points south. This area was developed with a home; it's driveway goes north to a county road. The narrow tree-line directly north-west and adjacent to this same "thumb" is the beginning and center of the east draw. The draw begins at the north end of this tree-line and runs down-hill to the south and onto Liberty. The west draw (visually indiscernable) is contained within Liberty's 3.228 acre block directly west of the "thumb". Moving to the county road, you will note some clearing along the road on both sides of the access strip to Liberty. This clearing is part of 2 ten acre parcels; one north and one south of the access strip. Each 10 acre parcel runs east to the Liberty 28 acre block and have been developed with a home located closer to the county road. The access strip sandwiched between these 2 homes is 1100 feet long; the first 600 foot of it is meadow and the balance is wooded. The "Driveway" page of this website will better explain this 2.5 acre access strip.
Hey, just got an even better aerial view....
As I learn how these development projects are orchestrated, John, my excavator, tells me to get a copy of the "strip map" of my property from the FSA office of the USDA. The government takes color aerial shots each year and they are available for the asking. Diane at the FSA office was super accommodating and the print arrived in the mail 3 days later. I inserted the approximate boundaries. The shot was taken Spring/Summer of 2004.