State Lands

yellow flower

Florida is home to millions of acres of public lands, many of which DEP protects for conservation or recreation purposes. Currently, DEP’s Division of State Lands is conducting a thorough analysis of Florida’s land inventory to ensure that we are acquiring and managing land in a way that makes the most sense for Floridians and our environment.  By carefully examining what we already own, we can better determine what’s missing and make sure we’re protecting the areas that need it most.

DEP’s Division of State Lands is Florida’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship, serving as staff to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund (Governor and Cabinet). An important part of protecting these lands is making sure we have the right lands in the right places, and that we’re using them for the right reasons.

kelley boreeMeet Kelley Boree, Director of State Lands

Kelley Boree joined Land and Recreation team as Director of State Lands on May 16, 2014.

Kelley most recently worked for the City of Jacksonville, where she served as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the past four years, overseeing one of the largest park systems in the state of Florida. She previously served as a member of the Acquisition and Restoration Council where she participated in the evaluation, selection and ranking of state land acquisition projects on the Florida Forever priority list, as well as the review of management plans and land uses for all state-owned conservation lands.

Kelley is a graduate of Williams Woods College with a degree in Business Administration and is a Certified Park & Recreation Professional, an active member of the Florida Recreation and Parks Association, and the National Recreation and Parks Association. She has been involved in a number of creative partnerships such as the Timucuan Trails State and National Parks, a partnership between the Florida Park Service, National Park Service and the City of Jacksonville. This partnership became a national model, linking federal, state and local public lands to provide a seamless experience for visitors.

In her new role, Kelley is tasked with ensuring state lands are accessible to all, while protecting the natural resources for which the land was acquired.

Partnership Provides Military Base Buffer and Natural Resource Protection

July 1, 2014

The Florida Communities Trust (FCT) and the City of Niceville today closed on the first of three parcels to expand Turkey Creek Walk Park.

In 2011, Niceville submitted an FCT Parks and Open Space Grant application, which was ranked fourth for funding by the FCT governing board. The acquisition plan includes three distinctive parcels. The 67-acre priority parcel acquired today from Ruckel Properties, Inc. will provide a military buffer on the south boundary of Eglin Air Force Base Reservation and protect wooded wetlands along Turkey Creek.

“This acquisition is a win for the City of Niceville and for Florida’s environment through preservation and base buffering,” said Rick Mercer, DEP’s director of operations. “We appreciate the hard work and dedication of Niceville, the U.S. Air Force, Ruckel Properties and Florida Communities Trust staff.”

The site connects to the seven-acre Turkey Creek Walk Park site acquired by the city with FCT grant funds in 1997.

“Niceville has put into concrete our commitment to the environment and this acquisition will make this available to the public forever,” said Lannie Corbin, manager of the City of Niceville.

In accordance with FCT grant requirements and within the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) restrictions on the parcel, Niceville will protect and manage the natural communities, and offer passive recreation including a loop nature trail with benches, a swinging bridge over the creek and trail connectivity to the parks and boardwalk to its south.

“Our family is proud to see the fulfillment of this dream for the City of Niceville and the Turkey Creek Walk Park,” said Steve Ruckel, president and chief executive officer of Ruckel Properties, Inc.

The total project cost for the acquisition, which includes the land purchase price and acquisition expenses, was $163,840.70. The FCT grant award funded 75 percent of the total cost, which was $122,880.52, with the Niceville’s required 25-percent match of $40,960.18. The USAF provided supplemental funds above FCT’s maximum allowable purchase price to assure public ownership of this parcel and secure military buffering restrictions. Acquisition of the two remaining parcels is anticipated by the end of August 2014.

Florida Communities Trust assists communities in protecting important natural resources, providing recreational opportunities and preserving Florida’s traditional working waterfronts through the competitive criteria in the Parks and Open Space Florida Forever Grant Program and the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Florida Forever Grant Program. These local land-acquisition grant programs provide funding to local governments and eligible non-profit organizations to acquire land for parks, open space, greenways and projects supporting Florida’s seafood harvesting and aquaculture industries. Florida Communities Trust is funded under the Florida Forever Program. Over the last 20 years, the Florida Communities Trust has acquired 504 parcels valued at more than $1.5 billion.

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