In an odd attempt to preserve some of its most valuable natural resources, the state of Florida is considering selling off land deemed less worthy of saving, reported the Miami Herald.
The property for sale includes 5,000 acres of forest, wetlands and beaches, including much of the Green Swamp. Should Florida choose to sell, the areas could go to developers who will use the land for commercial purposes.
Ironically, the government originally purchased the land in question to protect it from development.
The plan is to raise $50 million dollars, and with the funds gleaned from the land sell-off, the state hopes to purchase other parcels in an effort to conserve those areas instead. In total, 160 properties may be sold.
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Many residents are astonished by the proposal, including one woman who raised funds to purchase 1,100 acres so she could name a park after her dead son. Part of her land may soon be up for grabs.
The woman said in an interview, "It's an outrage. To me, the entire concept of selling off conservation land to buy conservation land is not a good idea."
Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation, said, “I don’t understand why some of these got on this list. We need to review our reasons for acquiring those properties. If they’re still serving that purpose, then they shouldn’t be on that list.”
A Department of Environmental Protection representative attempted to console the opposition, stating that the current property list is only preliminary and the state has not yet confirmed which areas it will sell.
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Public hearings on the matter are slated for the fall, and then Governor Rick Scott as well as the state cabinet will have the final say. In addition, universities and local government will reportedly get first dibs on the land.