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716 Acres Of Conservation Land In Putnam County Donated To North Florida Land Trust

Welaka Forest
North Florida Land Trust
Welaka Forest

A 716 acre conservation easement in Putnam County has been donated to the North Florida Land Trust, the largest conservation easement donation the nonprofit has received within the Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor.

The property, known as Welaka Woods, was donated by Welaka Woods, LLC, and is located between Welaka State Forest and the Lake George Conservation Area.

“Keeping this piece of land in its natural state is so important for many conservation reasons, including the protection of wildlife and the protection of the water quality and water supply for the citizens of Florida,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “Welaka Woods is in a significant recharge area for the Floridan aquifer which is a vital drinking water source. It also has a variety of habitats that can host many species considered threatened or endangered. We thank the donor for this donation and for their passionate commitment to conservation.”

Welaka Woods includes a variety of environments that host plant species in danger of decline and provide valuable habitats for many threatened and endangered species like the American kestrel, Florida black bear, gopher tortoise and Florida sandhill crane.

Adding this land to the Ocala to Osceola, or O2O, Wildlife Corridor, helps create a more complete pattern of land protection in the 1.6 million acre corridor connecting the Ocala and Osceola National Forests, according to the NFLT.

The land is also within the restricted airspace of the Pine Castle Bombing Range, where the Navy drops nearly 20,000 bombs a year, a few hundred of which are live.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.

Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.