About a thousand square miles of pristine land in the Panhandle will be protected for environmental and military purposes under a plan signed by Governor Jeb Bush and military leaders.
The state, the Department of Defense and The Nature Conservancy will work together to establish the so-called Northwest Florida Greenway. It will stretch across 100 miles in six counties that military aircraft fly over for training and weapons testing.
Florida is one of the first states to enter such an agreement with the Pentagon to keep development from encroaching on military bases and air space. Bush calls the partnership "groundbreaking," and says it reflects Florida's commitment to the environment and the military.
Black bears use the corridor to migrate from the Apalachicola National Forest to Eglin Air Force Base, which itself covers 724 square miles of forests, swamps and beaches. Eglin is one of eight Navy and Air Force bases in the Panhandle. The project also would protect unique habitat filled with other rare and endangered plant and animal species.