Ocala to Osceola

 
 
The Ocala National Forest is home to the state’s largest population of Florida black bears, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The Ocala National Forest is home to the state’s largest population of Florida black bears, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

a regional partnership to save nearly 100,000 acres in northern florida

Conservation Florida is a sponsor and active acquisition partner in the Ocala National Forest to Osceola National Forest Greenway (O2O) project, which spans Marion, Putnam, Flagler, Clay, Duval, Bradford, Union, Baker and Columbia counties.  

CFL began envisioning and defining the O2O in 2002. We partnered with the University of Florida and the Office of Greenways and Trails to identify the most critical lands to protect within this vast landscape of over 1.6 million acres. In 2010, in cooperation with the Office of Greenways and Trails, we submitted two Florida Forever projects totaling 74,893 acres that would link Camp Blanding (in the center of the corridor) to Osceola National Forest (at the northern boundary). We are currently active along the southern O2O boundary, where we are working with a number of state and federal agencies to protect land buffering Silver Springs and the Ocklawaha River.  

Due to the size and scope of the O2O, it has evolved into a regional partnership being led by our friends and partners, the North Florida Land Trust. Partners are taking a collaborative and strategic approach to land conservation within the project boundaries in an effort to protect as much land in the corridor as possible as quickly as possible. If the partners are successful, a protected network of public and private lands will eventually form a conservation corridor that extends from central Florida to southeast Georgia.  

Completing this corridor will provide a multitude of public benefits. These include protection of a significant portion of the southeastern region of the North American Coastal Plain biodiversity hotspot, which includes essential habitat for plants and wildlife such as the Florida black bear, gopher tortoise, Eastern indigo snake, wood stork, swallow-tailed kite, timber rattle snake, striped newt, red cockaded woodpecker, Sherman’s fox squirrel, Florida willow, rough-leaved loosestrife, longleaf pine, black creek crayfish, mud sunfish, Cooper’s hawk, Bachman’s sparrow and the Florida long-tailed weasel. Other benefits include the protection of water resources, lands buffering Camp Blanding military base, scenic vistas, and recreational trails.