Get free daily email updates
Search Story Archive

Cabinet to consider buying timber land in St. Johns County


Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet on Tuesday will be asked to buy 5,236 acres of timber land in St. Johns County, to be used as a Northeast Florida conservation easement, for $5.795 million. David Clark, the director of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Division of State Lands, said the deal allows the Meldrim family, which has owned the land since the early 1900s, to continue to harvest timber and maintain jobs in the area, while permanently limiting development. "The easement will create a significant watershed buffer for the St. Johns River, protecting and maintaining the water and wetland systems of the state," Clark said. The land, part of the 26,272-acre St. Johns River Blueway Florida Forever track, runs along the eastern shore of the St. Johns River, between Green Cove Springs and Palatka. The land is adjacent to the Watson Island State Forest, which is on the west bank of the river. The sales price is 89 percent of the property's appraised value, according to a Cabinet report which recommends approval of the purchase. The land is ranked ninth on the state's Florida Forever Climate Change Lands list.