The land conservation organization has closed on the 63-acre property
Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 5, 2017 – North Florida Land Trust is now the proud owner of the Bogey Creek Preserve. The land conservation organization closed on the property today and will now begin work to make improvements to the land to create a public park. Many generous donors helped NFLT reach the $1.2 million needed to purchase the 63-acre property and reach the $105,000 needed to fund the ancillary costs.
“This project has been a long time coming for us and we are glad the papers are now signed and we have taken ownership of this wonderful piece of land,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “We have a number of people to thank for this including the Delores Barr Weaver Fund, the River Branch Foundation, two anonymous donors and a number of individuals and families who stepped forward to make this acquisition a reality.”
NFLT started the process to raise the funds to acquire the land back in 2006 after they purchased about seven acres from the Spencer family. The original seven acres was adjacent to this property and was also owned by the Spencer family. Sue Spencer, the family’s matriarch, wanted her family property to be preserved forever. Spencer passed away earlier this year and McCarthy said he is very pleased they could fulfill her wishes.
Former Mayor John Delaney toured the property back in the spring of 1999 after he launched the city’s Preservation Project, which was created to acquire land for public parks and preservation. Delaney met with the Spencer family and saw firsthand all that the land had to offer.
“I long sought to preserve this particular and unique piece of Jacksonville,” said Delaney. “I am delighted that you (NFLT) have pulled it off and thankful to the family who owned the land.”
The Bogey Creek Preserve will protect nearly one mile of critical marsh front on Clapboard and Bogey Creeks. It neighbors Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park and the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. The property is a matrix of maritime hammock forest, seep-fed cypress swamps and mixed pine-oak forest.
McCarthy said the improvements to create the public park are expected to take approximately a year. Once completed, Bogey Creek Preserve will have public walking trails, a picnic area, a kayak launch and will include signs throughout the property to explain all the ecosystems and unique parts of the property. There will also be parking for the preserve on Cedar Point Rd.
The money to obtain Bogey Creek Preserve came from various supporters; one anonymous donor contributed $210,000 to the project and another gave $405,000 in the name of Robert P. Milam, Jr. The River Branch Foundation gave $500,000 towards the preserve and the Delores Barr Weaver Fund at the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida provided $125,000 through a challenge grant. The remainder of the funds were collected from individuals and families, including the Chartrand family.