State closes on Duval land deal

JACKSONVILLE, FLA — Florida has closed on a $5.8 million deal to acquire 241 acres along Pumpkin Hill Creek in Duval County, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Monday.


Department Secretary Shawn Hamilton said in a news release that the deal will expand recreational opportunities in the Jacksonville area and “encompasses four known archaeological sites containing evidence of human history dating back 4,000 years.” Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Cabinet approved the deal with the Trust for Public Land in March.

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At that time, Cabinet staff members pointed to growing interest in building in the region. “There is a high threat of development in this area, and it has been a challenge to balance the threat of urban development with the natural and cultural resources,” a Cabinet staff report. The site is part of Black Hammock Island.

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“This property not only offers visitors increased recreational access to hiking, wildlife viewing and fishing, but it also plays a crucial role in creating climate resilience against extreme weather events like hurricanes through protection of marshes and native forests,” Doug Hattaway, senior project manager for Trust for Public Land, said in a prepared statement.

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