Sen. Jason Brodeur, a Sanford Republican, is filing legislation to expand resident access to the Wildlife Corridor throughout the state, a key priority for Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican.
“Over the last two years, the Legislature has prioritized $600 million for the preservation and expansion of Florida’s iconic wildlife corridor,” said Brodeur, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government.
“By connecting the corridor to our trail system, more people across our state and around the world can experience Florida’s unique natural habitat at its finest, with the added benefit of connecting athletes and tourists with trail towns across Florida’s heartland.”
The bill (SB 106) would set aside $200 million for the Florida Department of Transportation to plan, design and construct trails connecting the Wildlife Corridor to local communities.
The measure adds a member of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation board to the Florida Greenways and Trails Council, requires the council to give recommendations for “regionally significant trails” to FDOT and to coordinate and facilitate land acquisition efforts for trails, and requires VISIT FLORIDA to promote the trails system.
The bill also increases the money spent annually on the trail network from $25 million to $50 million, with funding priority given to “regionally significant trails.”
“Fifty years from now our children and grandchildren will say that the greatest thing the Florida Legislature did in the 2020’s was the expansion of the Wildlife Corridor and the preservation of millions of acres of farmland and ranch land for conservation. It will be our Central Park,” Passidomo said in a released statement.
“I envision Florida’s Wildlife Corridor as a top destination for bikers, runners and other visitors. Expanding access, where appropriate, will allow the public to see the wonder, beauty and importance of preserving these areas.”
The Wildlife Corridor consists of 17 million acres throughout the state, created by the state purchase of development rights from farmers, allowing them to continue farming while protecting the land from development.