Under the proposal, the state would buy what is known as a “conservation easement” from Lyme Cross City Forest Company LLC on 8,138 acres. A recommendation from state staff said the purchase “would buffer and protect the natural resources of the Suwannee River and the Gulf of Mexico and provide habitat and corridors for rare plants and animals over a wide swath of undeveloped public lands.”
Under the conservation easement, timbering would be allowed to continue on the property, but other activities, such as development, would be prevented. The staff recommendation said the deal has the backing of the Dixie County Commission and the local community.
“The conservation easement will permanently limit development, while allowing the landowner to sustainably harvest timber, thereby ensuring important forestry jobs stay in the community, which is the county’s largest employer,” the staff recommendation said.
“It will also enhance ecotourism in the region by protecting the waters in which people swim, fish, scallop, and boat.”