A spokeswoman from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced that investors have recently donated a total of 224 acres to the state of Florida for recreation and wildlife use. The acreage will be added to the Picayune Strand State Forest.
The Picayune Strand State Forest is located in southwest Florida in western Collier County, approximately 2 miles east of the town of Naples. The forest can be accessed on Everglades Boulevard from the north or Janes Scenic Drive from the east and may also be accessed from the west via Sabal Palm Road. Public parking and restroom facilities are located at 2121 52nd Ave. SE, west of Everglades Boulevard.
The Chicago-based investors, Indian Hill Partners and Calusa Pines LLC, are also providing $1,000 an acre in management funds to the Friends of Florida State Forests for maintaining the property. The land, which includes old-growth wet flatwoods and undisturbed savanna, would provide habitat for the endangered Florida panther and the red-cockaded woodpecker, as well as the native Florida black bear.
Hunting, horseback riding and hiking amongst other recreational uses will be allowed on the property, which was donated as two parcels. The assessed value of the 224 acres is $551,050. The investors gave the land as part of the Collier County Transfer of Development Rights program so it could develop a residential project.