Land Trust acquires land for conservation near Camp Blanding

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - North Florida Land Trust has acquired 624 acres of land in what is known as the triangle parcel near Camp Blanding.

The property, located in Bradford County, is adjacent to Camp Blanding Joint Training Center in Clay County.

NFLT worked closely with the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program to identify the land, which was both a prime candidate for conservation and important to protect the base from the threat of encroaching development.

The triangle parcel and Camp Blanding are both located in what is known as the “O2O” corridor, which is a nationally critical wildlife corridor that stretches from the Ocala National Forest to the Osceola National Forest and eventually to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.

“Preserving this piece of land will not only keep development away from Camp Blanding, but will also be beneficial to several endangered species like the gopher tortoise, red-cockaded woodpecker and indigo snake,” said Jim McCarthy, Executive Director of NFLT. “Working with the Department of Defense has allowed us to preserve these 624 acres of natural habitat and all the ecosystem services that they offer, like clean air and water.”

The 624 acres that NFLT acquired is a resource rich timberland that has potential for restoration forestry. Much of the property is covered by bottomland hardwood and hardwood pine stands.

“This deal was really a win-win situation for both Camp Blanding and North Florida Land Trust,” said Paul Catlett, Installation and Environmental Program Manager for Camp Blanding. “This purchase will help to protect the military mission of Camp Blanding by allowing soldiers to train to the fence line without fear of affecting the quality of life for our neighbors.”

The property was acquired from the Missouri Department of Transportation Retirement Fund. The acquisition was funded in part by a grant from the National Guard Bureau as part of the REPI program, which was designed to secure buffers around military installations.

The Clay County Development Authority also assisted by securing a grant of $390,000 from the Florida Defense Support Task Force to help make the purchase possible.

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