The land is in Putnam County within the O2O wildlife corridor
North Florida Land Trust has helped to preserve approximately 157 acres in Putnam County located in the Ocala to Osceola, or O2O, wildlife corridor. The nonprofit land conservation organization acquired the property from the Weyerhaeuser Corporation, a private timberland company. The property is located adjacent to Etoniah Creek State Forest and within the priority area for conservation for Camp Blanding and the Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program designed to secure buffers around military installations.
NFLT negotiated with Weyerhaeuser and completed the due diligence necessary to finalize the acquisition. The land was purchased for $472,600 with funding provided by the Florida Defense Task Force through the Clay County Development Authority and the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program.
“This acquisition accomplishes many things. It provides a critical linkage between the Etoniah Creek State Forest and Camp Blanding, provides for wildlife migration, and protects Camp Blanding from encroachment,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “Weyerhaeuser was a wonderful partner through this process, and we appreciate their cooperation and willingness to sell the land.”
The 157-acre property buffers the Camp Blanding installation, enhances the State’s ability to manage the Etoniah Creek State Forest, provides a critical linkage for wildlife habitat, and fire management. It contains wetlands associated with Etoniah Creek tributaries. The property sits within the O2O wildlife corridor which provides important habitat for the Florida Black Bear and numerous endangered species, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snake, and gopher tortoise. NFLT has been leading a partnership of public and private partners who are committed to preserving this critical wildlife corridor to allow wildlife to migrate and maintain populations as they are pushed out of developing areas.
About North Florida Land Trust
North Florida Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the quality of life by protecting North Florida’s irreplaceable natural environment. Founded in 1999, NFLT has preserved tens of thousands of acres of land through the donation or purchase of land as well as conservation easements. NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with willing landowners and public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations.