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Next Steps: Plans to protect Chip's Hole with state funding

Posted at 8:14 PM, Jun 17, 2024
  • Conservation Florida will receive $3.7 million from the state to protect Chip's Hole in Wakulla County.
  • The group is working to turn the land owned by Southwest Georgia Oil into a preserve for the public.
  • The video above details plans about the project and the potential for a gas station at another location.

Broadcast Transcript:

Controversy surrounding this area stemmed from the idea of a gas station going up at the site.

Now with nearly 4 million dollars in state funding the group says it will purchase 225 acres and do a land swap with Southwest Georgia Oil.

Adam Bass, The Vice President of Conservation Florida says they're NOW WORKING ON PURCHASE AGREEMENTS.

"We hope to see that happen in the next three to four months after the land is protected we'll work with Southwest Georgia Oil to swap them for the land North of Bloxham Cutoff for a portion of property South of Bloxham Cutoff."

As for the future of the gas station

Will that still impact the area?

"Yes ma'am they'll be a gas station developed South of Bloxham Cutoff however it's been mitigated as much as possible we're still working with community groups and Southwest Georgia Oil. To ensure that the risks have been mitigated."

Over the last few months, I've connected with neighbors fighting to protect the land.

"I'm very happy that there won't be one put on top of Wakulla Springs."

Jack Rudloe has been part of the efforts to stop the gas station from being built on Chip's Hole and he worries about the impact of future developments.

"There will be more gas stations and more development, stupid development and knowing that right under our feet down here is a big river of water flowing an aquifer is popping out into the Gulf the springs are visible, we and other people have worked for years to promote the Wakulla Springs and the need for clean water."

As for where the proposed gas station could land .... These maps show plans to shift the proposed fuel station away from the cave system.

The first one is the pre-plan and the second is where it could end up once plans are finalized.

And while it might not be the perfect solution....Rudloe credits people in this neighborhood for getting them this far.

"It was really good to see the public come out as strong as they were."

I reached out to the county about the funding ... and was sent a statement that reads in part... We greatly appreciate the substantial funding allocated to Wakulla County in the state budget, which will significantly benefit both our citizens and our environment."