News Releases

Help plan the future of Fort White Wildlife and Environmental Area

News Release

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291; Karen Parker, 386-754-1294

Photos available on FWC’s Flickr site: Go to https://flic.kr/s/aHskukUJ1W

A 10-year plan for the management of Fort White Wildlife and Environmental Area will be presented at a public hearing in Gilchrist County on Thursday, March 10.

People are invited to the 7 p.m. public hearing at the Board of County Commissioners meeting facility, 210 S. Main Street, Trenton.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff will present the draft land management plan for the FWC-managed Fort White WEA, and people will be encouraged to comment and ask questions. For more information on the upcoming local public hearing, go to MyFWC.com/Conservation and select “Terrestrial Programs” then “Management Plans.”

Located in northern Gilchrist County, the Fort White WEA is bordered by the spring-fed Santa Fe River and conserves 1,610 acres of fish and wildlife habitat. Surveys of the area are planned to conduct research on this and other potential historic uses of the area.  Recreational activities offered here include paddling on the Santa Fe River, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and bicycling. Archery, small game and spring turkey hunts also are available.

Many wildlife species live here, including the Florida pine snake, Sherman’s fox squirrel, gopher tortoise, Eastern bluebird and Bachman’s sparrow. With its waterways flowing into the Suwanee River basin, Fort White WEA also helps conserves the diversity of fish, wildlife and habitats along north Florida’s rivers.

“Fort White WEA was purchased to conserve habitat for the gopher tortoise and to ensure the conservation of fish and wildlife resources, other natural and historic resources, and for fish- and wildlife-based public outdoor recreation,” said Peter van de Burgt, FWC land conservation planner. “This draft plan will specify how we intend to do that.”

All lands owned by the state of Florida that were donated or purchased with public funds for conservation must have a management plan that ensures the property will be managed in a manner consistent with the intended purposes of the donation or purchase. Hunting and fishing regulations are not included in this plan or meeting; those are addressed through a separate public process.

To obtain a copy of the draft land management prospectus for Fort White WEA, call Peter van de Burgt at 850-487-9982 or email Peter.Vandeburgt@MyFWC.com.

For more information and background on management plans and their goals, visit MyFWC.com/Conservation and select “Terrestrial Conservation Programs” then “Management Plans.”

For more on the Fort White WEA, go to MyFWC.com and select “Wildlife Viewing” then “Wildlife Management Areas.”



FWC Facts:
The loon call, described as a maniacal musical laugh, a falsetto wail, a yodel and a tremolo, is commonly heard during breeding and non-breeding seasons.

Learn More at AskFWC