Governor Bush signed a bill to purchase the massive Babcock Ranch in Charlotte County


Governor Jeb Bush signed the Babcock Preservation Act, taking the State a step closer to completing one of the largest conservation purchases in Florida's  history.

The new law provides $310 million to acquire nearly 74,000 acres of the Babcock Ranch property, which spans both Lee and Charlotte counties in Southwest Florida, the state announced today.

'Placing Babcock Ranch into public ownership preserves in perpetuity a vast expanse of wildlife habitat, a valuable water-recharge area and an historic working ranch,' Bush said.

Part of the State's Florida Forever land conservation program, the 74,000-acre acquisition brings to near completion a natural land corridor stretching from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico.

In partnership with Kitson and Partners, LLC, the landmark purchase preserves the single largest tract of contiguous conservation lands in the state's history while at the same time protecting a water-recharge area for Southwest Florida.

Nearly two years ago, Kitson and Partners, LLC, reached an agreement to purchase the 91,000-acre ranch from the Babcock family and worked with the State to preserve more than 80 percent of the land. At a total cost of $350 million, the State is purchasing nearly 74,000 acres of the historic ranch for preservation, with Lee County contributing more than $40 million to the acquisition, a press release said.

Governor Bush signs Babcock Preservation Act as developer Syd Kitson and state legislators look on.