Loxahatchee Greenways Project
From 1992 to 1996, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 1000 Friends of Florida, and The Conservation Fund formed the Loxahatchee Greenways Project to create a system of greenways [corridors of protected open space that are managed for conservation and recreation] in northern Palm Beach and southern Martin counties. The 200,000-acre system connects Jonathan Dickinson State Park, J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area, DuPuis Reserve State Forest to the west, the West Palm Beach Water Catchment Area, the Loxahatchee Slough, and Pal-Mar, a region crossing the Palm Beach-Martin county line.
Through the Loxahatchee Greenways Project, 18 public agencies agreed on six strategic connections between these Core Areas to allow wildlife to travel between them, and to protect the Loxahatchee River and sustain the communities in its watershed. In 1996, for example, Palm Beach County purchased 10,389 acres of the Loxahatchee Slough—the historic headwaters of the Loxahatchee River and the largest property in Palm Beach County’s Natural Areas Program—from the MacArthur Foundation.
The project also connected nature to people, by gathering input from residents and forming partnerships in the public and private sectors to create win-win solutions. Recreational and educational use of natural areas was established in the Limestone Creek Greenway Project, the Juno Beach Bike Trail, the West Palm Beach Environmental Education Center and Trail, Abacoa, and the Lake Okeechobee Greenway.
With the greenways project complete, 1000 Friends of Florida opened a local office in 1999 and launched the three-year Palm Beach County Green Initiative to teach local communities how to achieve smart growth through planning, education, and advocacy.