Blistered and bug-bitten, a group of conservationists reached their destination of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southern Georgia, on Earth Day. The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition team set out back in January, at the southern tip of Florida in the Everglades National Park. They made their way up through the sunshine state on foot, by paddle and occasionally on horseback. Their goal has been to garner attention for a vision to link Florida’s already existing protected natural areas, to lands with the potential to be protected.
Imagine standing on the side of Interstate 4 trying to find an opportunity to cross as semi trucks whir by - only you don’t know exactly what these loud, fast monstrosities are, because in this scenario you are a bear. Maybe there’s a fresh food or water source on the other side of the highway, or you may have been evicted from your home territory by a bigger, stronger bear. Anyway, you’ve left the safety of the trees and have now come to face the dizzying bustle of the roadway.
Why should conserving a tract of wild and rural areas stretching the length of Florida matter to people? The answer is multi-faceted: Agriculture, economics, water and recreation.
Agriculture is the second biggest economy in our state, next to tourism. Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition co-leader, Carlton Ward Jr., explains that this project depends on farms, ranches and other private lands to connect already designated conservation areas.
WFIT has been following the ongoing Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition on an outdoor adventure through the sunshine state. This team of conservationists is showcasing some of the state's unique landscapes while stressing the need for contiguity of wild and pastoral places.