– North Florida Land Trust has acquired 577.9 acres of land in its Black Creek Preservation Priority Area in Clay County through the generosity of the property owners, Sandy and Cathryn Sandridge, and NFLT’s valued partnership with the St. Johns River Water Management District. The land, named Rideout Point Preserve, is located directly across from the Black Creek Ravines Conservation Area and protects over three miles of Black Creek shoreline. The property is divided by the First Coast Expressway.
“This is an incredibly important piece of property along Black Creek and we look forward to owning and managing this property and are interested in talking with other landowners along Black Creek who would like to donate or sell their property for conservation,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “We are thrilled to partner with the District to make this transaction possible and we thank them for their partnership and quick response. Their staff, led by Dr. Shortelle, was a pleasure to work with and we look forward to partnering with them on future acquisitions.”
NFLT purchased a 26-acre parcel for $150,000, and the landowner donated the remainder of the 578-acre property. The District then purchased a conservation easement over the entire property for $150,000.
The property is composed of both upland and wetland areas including cypress, pine flatwoods, and mixed upland forest. It also has several spring seeps, steep bluffs and ravines that overlook Black Creek. NFLT will own and manage the property subject to the terms of an easement, which will be monitored by the District. McCarthy asks other landowners who are interested in donating or selling their property to please contact NFLT at (904) 479-1967 or send an email to email@example.com.
“We are excited about the opportunity to conserve these lands and further protect Black Creek,” said Dr. Ann Shortelle, executive director of the St. Johns River Water Management District. “This partnership with NFLT and the Sandridges provides the public with future opportunities to enjoy this distinctive property while protecting the land and waterway.”
In 2016, NFLT released its Preservation Portfolio which identified more than 112,000 acres of land in Northeast Florida that was most valuable for conservation. They identified approximately 5,000 acres in the Black Creek Preservation Priority Area because of the ecosystem benefits conservation would provide. McCarthy said preserving this land is not only good for Black Creek, but will also have economic benefits by acting as a natural buffer against flooding.