Vision Broadens for Flagler Park Museum, Historic Sites by '99

Article excerpt

PELLICER CREEK -- From the porch of the century-old Princess

Place hunting lodge, apanorama of marsh and bay opens up,

passing time as it has for centuries, hushed and unspoiled.

What can't be seen from this place, where royalty and sportsmen

once vacationed, is an unfolding preservation and development

effort to showcase Florida's natural and agricultural heritage,

its pristine beauty and economic maturation.

What began as an effort by Flagler County citizens to save the

lodge has turned into a project to include the state

agricultural museum, an estuarine research preserve, equestrian

trails, historic sites and may even encompass Marineland, the

marine park listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"We didn't really know where we were going in 1990," said Jim

Darby, chairman of the Flagler County Commission. "We couldn't

tell you that these things were going to happen. We could have

told you that the public showed a keen interest in . . .

retaining the integrity of its open space."

Now, the legacy of a 1988 referendum voters passed to buy

environmentally sensitive lands has the still-rural county

putting together a 6,700-acre destination catering to those who

increasingly say they want environmentally and historically

oriented vacations.

Private fund raising for the museum kicked off Saturday with a

projected opening of 1999. Aside from that, the timeline for

other aspects of the project is still taking shape. Princess

Place is open between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

Joy Mills, a state Department of Environmental Protection

spokeswoman who also worked in state tourism, said surveys show

as many as 60 percent of international tourists and 43 million

people in the U.S. consider themselves "eco-tourists."

The department has a new office dedicated to eco-tourism, a

term coined to fit a usually upscale, child-free tourist from

baby-boomers here to Europeans and Japanese.

deal to pay up to 33 cents per $1,000 of taxable property values

to finance an acquisition program.

The target was Princess Place on Pellicer Creek, built by New

England sportsman Henry Cutting in 1887.

Since an initial 435-acre deal in 1993 that included funds from

the state Preservation 2000 fund, more money has flowed from the

state Department of Community Affairs, the St. Johns River Water

Management District, and other public and private interests. …