Public Land Hunting Rights, to the Highest Bidder

Mud Swamp Tract in Alachua and Bradford counties, along the Santa Fe River. SRWMD map.

There’s lively debate going on in the General Hunting Forum this week, about a pilot project wherein which the Suwannee River Water Management District is putting up for lease an 800-acre tract in northeast Florida. Does this contradict state laws which seem to require public lands to be managed for the greatest public benefit?

A coalition of Florida hunting advocacy groups (NWTF, Florida Bow Hunters, UW-F and more) voted this week to oppose the pilot project.

See the Forum thread here.

The original press release is printed below:

The Suwannee River Water Management District (District) is requesting bids for the right to lease the Mud Swamp Tract, 836+/- acres in Alachua and Bradford Counties for exclusive recreation use including hunting and fishing. Bids are to be submitted by completing the attached lease, which includes the information regarding the terms under which the lease must be executed.

Executed leases are due by 12:00 noon on May 29, 2012 at District Headquarters in Live Oak. Individuals may hand deliver or mail the forms.

The District shall lease the property for the best price and terms obtainable, as may be determined by the Governing Board. Final decision regarding lease of the property will be made by the Governing Board at its meeting at 9:00 a.m. on June 12, 2012 in its offices in Live Oak, Florida. The Governing Board reserves the right to reject any and all bids for any or no reason as may be in the best interest of the District.

Questions should be addressed to the District’s Senior Land Resources Manager Bob Heeke at 386.362.1001 or RGH@srwmd.org.

  • L Simon

    The Florida Water Management Disticts are already limiting the access and use of the lands they control (purchased with taxpayer money). To add insult to injury, they now want to give access and use to only the highest bidders. This sounds much like, "Florida is for Sale". How is the next generation going to relate to Florida's outdooor experience, if our public land is set aside only for a privledged few? Public land needs to remain for the public's use and benefit. This ploy should not stand and goes directly against the newly adopted House Bill 313.