Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opposition Rises to Black Creek Ravines Proposal

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opposition Rises to Black Creek Ravines Proposal

Article excerpt

Byline: R. Michael Anderson, Clay County Line staff writer

Dawyn Boyer likes to go horseback riding on the many trails in the Black Creek Ravines Conservation Area, a state-owned, pristine wildlife habitat in Middleburg.

Others simply enjoy walking or riding bicycles through the 965-acre woodland south of Black Creek between the Ravines Golf Resort and Lake Asbury. The property was added to the St. Johns River Water Management District's network of environmentally sensitive properties in 1996.

Tuesday, Boyer and about two dozen other people appeared before the Clay County Commission to speak against a proposal that could lead to housing subdivisions and a highway through the conservation area in a land swap deal.

Though the county has no say in the decision, the group, calling itself Citizens to Save the Black Creek Ravines Conservation Area, urged commissioners to help ensure the property remains in its natural state as a wildlife habitat.

Boyer drew applause from the audience when she pointed out that, of the several state-owned wildlife management areas in the county, the Ravines property is the safest for people because it "is the only one that does not allow hunting."

While the county doesn't own the land and cannot control what the water management district does with it, commissioners said they would be willing to ask the state agency to reject a proposal from the Reinhold Corp. to swap about 3,000 acres for the property.

After hearing from several opponents of the proposed land exchange, commissioners directed the county attorney to draft a resolution for adoption at the Oct. 12 board meeting stating the county's opposition.

The water management district's recreation committee is reviewing Reinhold's offer, and public workshops will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at a time and location to be determined, and Thursday, Oct. …

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