Bill Expanding Access to Florida's Wildlife Corridor Signed Into Law Published by WQCS
Florida- Wednesday April 12, 2023: A bill expanding access to Florida’s Wildlife Corridor, was signed into law Tuesday by Governor DeSantis. Senate Bill 106, the Florida Shared-Use Nonmotorized Trail Network, was introduced by Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford).
The new law connects the corridor to Florida’s Greenways and Trails System and the SUN Trail Network, as well as recreational pathways to heritage small towns across Florida. Passage of the measure was a top priority for Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples),
“Our wildlife corridor provides a unique opportunity to experience the wonder and beauty of Florida’s heartland. With this legislation we have the chance not only to preserve this natural resource for future generations, but to expand access so more Floridians can walk, run, and bike from trail town to trail town, taking in all our great state has to offer,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) “I envision Florida’s Wildlife Corridor as a top destination for recreational tourists from across the country and around the world. As I have said before, I believe this will be Florida’s Central Park – a legacy we can be proud to leave for future generations of Floridians and visitors to enjoy.”
The Senate also adopted Senate Resolution 1732, recognizing April 11, 2023, as “Path of the Panther Day” in Florida to highlight the recovery of the Florida panther and celebrate the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
Florida’s Wildlife Corridor encompasses approximately 17.7 million acres, including almost 10 million acres of conservation lands. The corridor is being created through the state’s purchase of development rights of farmers, ranchers, and other landowners who will be able to continue their operations in perpetuity and the lands will never be developed. From 2020-2022, under the leadership of Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, former Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby), the Legislature appropriated $600 million in funding available to expand the Wildlife Corridor.
“The legislation signed into law today includes $200 million to connect the corridor to our trail system so more people across our state and around the world can experience Florida’s unique natural habitat,” said Senator Brodeur, who serves as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government. “This significant expansion of access to Florida’s iconic Wildlife Corridor will provide even more options for families, athletes, and adventure seekers to experience old Florida at its finest, safeguarding more of our wetlands, farmlands and ranchlands, while improving the visibility of our quaint, legacy trail towns across Florida’s heartland.”