This Land is My Land

The state has finalized a land buy that it says will benefit the environment and the military. The St. Joe Company has sold the box r ranch in Apalachicola to the state for about $15 million.

We're talking about 7,600 acres of land and water which will act as a gateway for an even bigger project, one that should excite recreationalists and military officers.

As northwest Florida continues to grow, so does a need for conservation. That's what the state of Florida says as it finalizes a purchase of Box R. Ranch, a 7,600-acre parcel of land near military bases in the panhandle.

David Struhs, DEP Secretary, says, “As development occurs it can lead to conflicts between the military's mission and property rights.”

Struhs says the purchase acts as a gateway for a new project called the Northwest Florida Greenway, a project aimed at preserving military bases as well as the pristine land in north Florida.

“For wildlife to flourish they need wide expanses of unspoiled land,” says Henry Cabbage.

That's exactly what the state plans to do. Starting with the purchase of Box R. Ranch, the land is currently closed to hunting and fishing, but after a year or so, locals and visitors should benefit.

“We'll open for recreation, then have hunting, fishing, camping maybe motorcycling, whatever,” says Cabbage.

A game plan that's good for the economy and mother nature.

Box R. Ranch is the first parcel of land acquired in the greenway project. It's home to many endangered plant and animal species including the black bear and the bald eagle.

Ultimately the greenway would span six counties from Eglin Air Force Base to the Apalachicola National Forest. Officials say the project will likely take 10 years to complete.