The North Florida Land Trust conservation group has secured funding to purchase 63 acres of land to turn into a public park bordering the Timucuan Ecological area.
Two anonymous donors helped clear the $1 million bar to buying what’s called the Bogey Creek Preserve.
The pair gave what equals $615,000 after the Delores Barr Weaver Fund issued a $125,000 challenge grant to drive more donations.
In addition to the $1 million the group raised for purchasing, it also must spend more than $100,000 to convert the land into a public park.
North Florida Land Trust Director Jim McCarthy said the group is $30,000 away from accomplishing that goal, which was the desire of the land’s previous owner, who passed away in April.
“Sue Spencer, who was the matriarch of the Spencer family that owned the property, wanted to have it preserved. That was her wish. We’ve been working now for 14, 15 years to help her preserve that property,” he said.
McCarthy said the acreage is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it’s critical marsh land in the Timucuan Preserve and surrounding forests.
“It’s got a well-developed maritime hammock and it’s home to a number of diverse wildlife species, like protected bird species and rare plant life,” he said. “The real critical part is that it’s more marsh land where we can have an impact … so that it does prevent flooding and also provides fisheries with [filtration].”
The Land Trust plans on creating two miles of walking trails with a footbridge and wildlife overlooks, a picnic area, two kayak launches and signage throughout the park explaining its unique ecosystem.