OSPREY, FL (January 18, 2022) Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast announces the permanent protection of 14.38 acres in Manatee County. This newly protected land is located between Manatee County’s Braden River Park to the south and the Honi Hanta Girl Scout Camp to the north and east. The protection was made possible thanks to a generous conservation easement donation from the property’s owner, Bunny Garst, in honor of her late husband, Judge Claflin Garst, Jr. It was completed on December 30. The property was subsequently sold to the adjoining landowners, James and Mary Parks, for continued grazing and other limited agricultural use subject to the conservation easement.
“Judge Garst was the son of early Manatee County settlers and grew up on the land,” notes Christine P. Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation. “We are grateful to Bunny Garst for choosing to donate this easement and pleased we can help honor Judge Garst’s legacy by forever protecting the rural character of this land.”
The protection of this land is the first step in a larger initiative to permanently conserve an additional 58 acres currently owned by Garst and is part of Conservation Foundation’s ongoing effort to protect the remaining natural and agricultural lands along Gap Creek and the Braden River.
The Garst property is located within the Manatee River and Tampa Bay watersheds. It filters rain and surface water runoff, helping to clean the water before entering the Manatee River and ultimately Tampa Bay. It also prevents flooding in Manatee County by storing rain and surface water runoff. Conserving this land permanently protects habitat suitable for a variety of natural communities, including multiple species of grassland birds which are in steep decline nationwide.
The donation of this land was made possible with a grant from the Bill and Mary Muirhead Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County which provides dedicated resources for its ongoing stewardship.
Landowners interested in learning how to safeguard the future of their land, and the potential tax benefits available, are encouraged to contact Conservation Foundation’s land protection team by calling 941.918.2100.
About Conservation Foundation
Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast protects land and water in Southwest Florida for the benefit of people and nature. Working with landowners, businesses, and government, Conservation Foundation saves land forever, protecting those special places that make this region extraordinary. A nationally accredited land trust, Conservation Foundation purchases natural areas, holds voluntary land protection agreements, and educates for responsible land and water stewardship in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier Counties. Learn more and join in their mission at www.conservationfoundation.com.