North Florida Land Trust, the Bull Family and the City of Atlantic Beach will be coming together on Earth Day, April 22, 2023, for the dedication of the Harcourt and Florence Stolbrand Bull Memorial Preserve, also known as the Bull Family Preserve. The City of Atlantic Beach and the family of Harcourt Bull, the first mayor of Atlantic Beach, are hosting the celebration of the preservation of the property. The community is invited to attend the ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. at Tide Views Preserve, 1 Begonia St., Atlantic Beach.
North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) acquired the nearly 219-acre preserve in February from Atlantic Beach Holding Co., a group of heirs of Bull and his wife, Florence. The family decided to sell it for a bargain price to the nonprofit land conservation organization with the difference in actual cost considered a donation to NFLT. The family had owned the land since about 1949 and wanted it kept in its natural state forever.
“For conservation in North Florida, the time is now or never,” said Allison DeFoor, president of NFLT. “The Bull Family have stepped up to the plate, and we are grateful. Every time folks drive onto Atlantic Beach from the mainland, and do not see condos looking at them, we should all say thank you to these founders and bedrocks of our community.”
The preserve is primarily salt marsh with a few small areas of hardwood forest. The salt marsh and tidal creeks provide habitat for wildlife including the federally endangered West Indian manatee and the federally threatened wood stork. There also are an abundance of wading birds, including great blue herons, brown pelicans, and cormorants. In addition to the wildlife it protects, preserving this property helps to prevent flooding, reduces storm surge and removes nutrients to provide clean water.
Bull Family Preserve is near Atlantic Boulevard and J. Turner Butler Boulevard and can be seen when crossing the Intracoastal Waterway bridge. The preserve is within the Northeast Florida Blueway Florida Forever project area and is adjacent to NFLT’s River Branch Islands Preserve. It is also across the Intracoastal Waterway from the City of Jacksonville’s Castaway Island and Dutton Island preserves.
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 and conservation easements as well as facilitating government acquisition of important projects. 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.