O2O Exciting Tidbits
Photo by Kimberly Tillman
O2O Exciting Tidbit Post # 2 April, 2021
Scroll through below to see a few imperiled and of special concern species seen on the property
Scroll through below to see pictures of the historic Kerr City
A New Florida Forever Priority Area Piece Has Been Approved in the O2O!
Good news for the, optimistically named, “Big Pine Preserve” in the O2O!
On April 9th, 2021, 541 acres, an area we hope to call Big Pine Preserve (BPP), was approved as a 2022 Florida Forever priority area by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC). The Council voted to add the 541-acre area to the existing Longleaf Pine Ecosystems Florida Forever project area. Accordingly, the private lands comprising BPP will be eligible for acquisition through the FDEP Florida Forever program in 2022. The ARC recognizes BPP as an important addition to the Florida Forever Longleaf pine project area for its imperiled species habitat, expansion of the conservation landscape, potential for outdoor recreation, and education use.
The BPP is a large privately owned inholding of the Ocala National Forest, the southern foothold of the O2O Wildlife Corridor. This BPP property sits adjacent to Lake Kerr and near the Salt Spring Recreation Area. Ocala National Forest is a large publicly owned natural landscape. It contains the world’s largest Florida scrub-jay population as well as a large populations of Red-cockaded woodpecker, sand skink, and other imperiled species. Adding conservation land to improve landscape integrity of the Forest will help recover these endangered and threatened species.
You may recognize this 541 acres as containing an area NFLT has talked about before. NFLT has an option agreement to purchase most of the proposed Big Pine Preserve (BPP) property, which contains the largest unprotected old growth longleaf pine forest in Florida as well as historical features associated with Kerr City, a ghost town on the shore of Lake Kerr. Designation as a Florida Forever priority is an important step toward protection of this land for conservation.
North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) proposed BPP for addition to the Florida Forever priority lands in 2020. With support and assistance from other O2O partners we worked with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (also an O2O partner) to evaluate its conservation significance. NFLT continues to lead several protection efforts for BPP, and if successful, it will be a signature conservation addition to the O2O Wildlife Corridor!
Scroll through to see a few of the old and huge longleaf pine trees located on the approved Florida Forever priority area.
Watch a video on the proposed Big Pine Preserve put together by NFLT’s previous Fellow Alexa Putillo.
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