The Nature Conservancy named the rich landscape of northwest Florida’s Panhandle one of the Nation’s six “biodiversity hotspots.” Known for its natural beauty, the region is under intense development pressure that could permanently alter the natural resources and encroach upon local military operations.
The million-acre Apalachicola National Forest and the million-acre region including Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Blackwater River State Forest, and Conecuh National Forest are already protected from development. A corridor connecting the two protected areas is needed to sustain the region’s rich biodiversity and preserve the historic military ﬂyway routes.
The project was funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Florida Defense Alliance, the Jelks Family Foundation and others. The Nature Conservancy, contacted Eglin AFB, and a partnership with mutual goals was born to create the connecting corridor. The project was launched with Florida’s outstanding $300 million per year land acquisition program. When completed, the Greenway project will connect extensive forests stretching from southern Alabama to Florida’s Big Bend, a forest system of more than three million acres.