Gov. Rick Scott and cabinet members approved the purchase of the 165-acre Clear Creek/Whiting Field parcel in Santa Rosa County for $705,000 from Paradise Bay Developers.
This Florida Forever acquisition will expand a conservation corridor between state and private conservation lands for wildlife and recreational use as well as buffer Whiting Field Naval Air Station from development. The parcel is planned to be purchased through a cost-sharing proposal between the state of Florida and the U.S. Department of Defense of 25/75 percent, respectively.
The parcel will be managed by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Recreation and Parks as part of the Blackwater Heritage State Trail. This acquisition increases the potential for trail development along with opportunities for hiking, bicycling and nature study.
“The department is committed to safeguarding the environment and supporting our military,” said DEP Secretary Jon Steverson. “Purchasing this parcel adjacent to Whiting Field will augment a wildlife corridor, expand recreational activities and buffer the naval air station.”
In addition to being ranked eighth in the Florida Forever Partnerships and Regional Incentives project category, this parcel is a top priority for Whiting Field Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) project parcels to be acquired.
“The success of this acquisition is directly tied to the tremendous partnership we share with the state of Florida,” said Randy Roy, Whiting Field’s community planning liaison officer. “The Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program’s success in Florida is touted throughout the Department of Defense as a model for the rest of the nation.”