Deborah Kling
Deborah Kling
Team Leader

Santa Rosa eyes 435-acre woodland for hiking, camping, canoeing, and preservation

Santa Rosa eyes 435-acre woodland for hiking, camping, canoeing, and preservation

Santa Rosa eyes 435 acre woodland

Santa Rosa County has made a significant leap towards preserving natural beauty and promoting outdoor activities with its latest endeavor – acquiring a 435-acre woodland property. This serene expanse, located just west of Naval Air Base Whiting Field, promises a future where conservation and passive recreation go hand in hand.

A Serene Setting with a Natural Lake

Nestled in the Pace area, this property is graced by the tranquil Clear Creek and boasts a stunning 37-acre natural lake. This acquisition isn’t just a win for nature enthusiasts but also a financial triumph for the county, as it comes without any direct cost. The U.S. Navy, utilizing $1.5 million from Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) funds and an equal amount from a defense infrastructure grant, covers the entire acquisition cost.

Strategic Partnership and Environmental Stewardship

The Trust for Public Lands played a pivotal role in brokering this deal, which received formal approval from the County Commission. Commissioner James Calkins highlighted the multiple benefits of this purchase, emphasizing land preservation, base buffering, and recreational opportunities for Santa Rosa County.

The REPI funds, sourced from a Department of Defense account, facilitate collaborations aimed at preserving military missions and supporting local governments or conservation organizations. Santa Rosa County’s initiative with Whiting Field is often cited as a benchmark in community outreach and collaboration in base buffering initiatives.

Management and Future Plans

Milton resident Vernon Compton, representing the Long Leaf Alliance, announced his organization’s commitment to managing this property. Their responsibilities include trail construction, conducting prescribed burns, and tackling invasive species, ensuring the land’s natural beauty and ecological balance are maintained.

Santa Rosa County Administrator DeVann Cook and Navy liaison Randy Roy envision a future where the property offers various amenities like primitive camping, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing, aligning with the passive recreation model.

A Significant Addition to Florida Forever

This property, acquired from the Rosasco Trust, aligns with the state’s Florida Forever program, one of the largest public land acquisition initiatives in the U.S. With this new addition, the county’s contribution to the Florida Forever’s goal of preserving Santa Rosa County acres reaches a new milestone.

Conservation and Military Synergy

This acquisition not only enhances recreational and conservation efforts but also strategically buffers Naval Air Base Whiting Field. The presence of these conservation lands is crucial in maintaining the integrity of military airport zones, free from the clutter of development.

A Continued Commitment to Nature

This purchase is not Santa Rosa County’s first foray into significant land conservation. Last year, the County Commission secured 545 acres along the East Bay River, dedicated to protecting threatened species and

offering a serene backdrop for nature walks. This acquisition, part of a collaborative effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, underscores the county’s dedication to environmental stewardship.

A Vision for the Future

The vision for this 435-acre woodland is not just about preservation but also about enabling residents and visitors to connect with nature in its purest form. The planning phase will carefully consider how to integrate amenities that align with the landscape’s natural character, ensuring that the beauty and tranquility of the area are maintained.

Community Involvement and Anticipation

As Santa Rosa County embarks on this exciting journey, community involvement and feedback will be pivotal. The county plans to engage with local residents to understand their preferences and ideas for this natural space. The anticipation is building for a place that will not only serve as a haven for wildlife but also as a sanctuary for people seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

A Commitment to Future Generations

Santa Rosa’s acquisition of this woodland property is more than just a current investment. It’s a commitment to future generations – a promise to preserve the natural environment and provide a space where people can enjoy and appreciate the great outdoors. This endeavor is a testament to the country’s forward-thinking approach to environmental conservation and community well-being.

As this project unfolds, it is set to become a beacon of nature conservation, recreation, and community pride in Santa Rosa County. Keep an eye on this space for more updates on how this picturesque landscape transforms into a cherished community asset.

Santa Rosa eyes 435 acre woodland for hiking, camping, canoeing and preservation

Ready to take the next step? Visit today to explore properties, read about the latest developments, and find your place in the heart of Santa Rosa’s natural paradise. Our team is dedicated to helping you find the perfect home that aligns with your lifestyle and values. Let’s make your dream of living in harmony with nature a reality.

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Santa Rosa eyes 435 acre woodland for hiking, camping, canoeing and preservation

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