Dec. 24, 2014
A major land donation secures valuable conservation lands in the state of Florida at no cost to taxpayers. Tuesday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection received a donation of more than 60 acres of property with an assessed value of $151, 050. This comes just months after the donation of more than 163 acres on adjoining parcels of land with an assessed value of $400,000. Both properties are part of the Picayune Strand State Forest and in total add 223.76 acres to the project.
“These donations are a great example of private business and state government working together to protect the environment,” said DEP State Lands Director Kelley Boree. “Anytime we can get high-quality conservation lands at no cost it’s a win for Florida residents. This land provides much needed green space for the greater Fort Myers area.”
The donations are a result of the Collier County Transfer of Development Rights Program and this program’s mitigation requirements of two private contractors looking to develop a residential project. The donors are also providing $1,000 per acre in management funds to Friends of Florida State Forests to care for the lands.
The additional lands to the Picayune Strand State Forest will provide added recreation space for hunting, hiking and horseback riding. It includes some of the most extensive examples of old-growth wet flatwoods (hydric pine flatwoods) in southwest Florida and high quality, undisturbed subtropical dwarf cypress savanna communities. The project will also protect habitat for at least 20 Florida Natural Areas Inventory-listed plants and animals, including the Florida panther, red-cockaded woodpecker and Florida black bear.