Timucuan Preserve’s Fanning Island Protected (FL)

JACKSONVILLE, FL, 6/20/2007: The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation organization, announced today that it has acquired for conservation a 25-acre site on Fanning Island in the Timucuan National Ecological and Historic Preserve.

The property, which was purchased from Fanning Island Partners, LLC, will become part of the Timucuan Trail State and National Parks-a unique cooperative partnership between the City of Jacksonville, the State of Florida, and the National Park Service. The Timucuan parks include some of the last unspoiled coastal wetlands on the Atlantic Coast and preserve the area’s rich historic and prehistoric sites.

The City of Jacksonville will manage the site, which is being purchased with funds from the St. Johns River Water Management District.

“This purchase provides additional protected lands adjacent to the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and the Pumpkin Hill Creek Florida Forever Project area,” said Kirby Green, executive director of the St. Johns River Water Management District. “The goals of the Pumpkin Hill Project are to provide an upland buffer to the Nassau River-St. Johns River Marshes Aquatic Preserve, an Outstanding Florida Water that supports a significant commercial and recreational fishery.”

A half-acre access easement donated by Atlantic Marine will provide access to the island for recreation. The site includes a historic shell road and one or more Native American shell middens and is home to many species of birds, including endangered wood storks. An existing trail leads to the edge of the wetlands. Future plans include a canoe/kayak launch, a picnic pavilion, and other public access facilities.

“We are tremendously excited to both further strengthen our partnerships and preserve this extraordinary natural treasure,” said Kelley Boree, deputy director of the City of Jacksonville Department of Parks, Recreation, Entertainment and Conservation. “This truly marks another milestone in our efforts to take our park system from ‘biggest to best.'”

The last TPL site that became part of the Timucuan preserve was the historic Broward House, purchased in 2004. From 1999 to 2003, TPL worked with Preservation Project Jacksonville to preserve 23 sites.

“The Trust for Public Land’s continued preservation accomplishments in the City of Jacksonville are vital to preserving our parks, open space, and waterways,” said Bob Rhodes, chair of TPL’s Northeast Florida Advisory Council. “One of the hallmarks of TPL’s success is the strong partnerships it is able to put together. This acquisition – using funds from the water management district and the management expertise of the city – is a great example of how agencies can work together to ensure that, years from now, residents will still have natural lands to enjoy in Northeast Florida.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2 million acres of land in 46 states. In Florida, TPL has protected more than 300 sites – over 200,000 acres at a market value of about $500 million. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information please call 850-222-7911 or go to www.tpl.org.