October 22, 2015

Western Land Receives Land Exchange Award from US Forest Chief Tidwell

File Code:       5400; 6140                                                              Date:  OCT 22 2015
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Subject:          Fiscal Year 2014 National Land Adjustment Award

To:                  Regional Forester, R-8

I am pleased to announce the Columbia County and Plum Creek Land Exchange Team (Team) is the recipient of the Fiscal Year 2014 Chiefs National Land Adjustment Award. The award recognizes exemplary achievements regarding public access to and use of the Osceola National Forest and the Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST).

The Team is comprised of the National Forests in Florida staffs, Southern Region Lands staff, Western Land Group, Columbia County, and the Plum Creek Corporation. This was a complex land exchange, involving local, regional, and national interests; governmental, non-governmental, and tribal parties; rights-of-way and easements for railways; an inland port; a variety of trail s and recreational areas; and sensitive biological and cultural resources.

Given since 1990, the award recognizes commendable team efforts for land adjustment activities. Regional nominations are based upon complexity, innovation, and teamwork for completed land adjustment actions that merit national recognition.

The Columbia County and Plum Creek land exchange resulted in the largest single public access acquisition for the FNST, providing a significant linkage to public lands on either side through a permanent perpetual legal interest for public use. Previously access was by permissive license only.

The land exchange will directly relate to the development of local economic growth opportunities, including higher paying jobs, in an economically depressed area. For example, the rail easement that was created as part of this exchange is a critical transportation linkage. It enables movement and storage of freight from the Port of Jacksonville to the North Central Florida Area of Critical Economic Concern Catalyst Site and the North Florida Intermodal Park (inland port) in Columbia County.

Team members include:

The National Forests in Florida: Jason Drake, Ecologist; Megan Eno, Florida National Scenic Trail Partnership Coordinator; Jeff Fillion, Surveyor; Jeff Gainey, Wildlife Biologist; Kyle Jones, Lands Program Manager; Rhonda Kimbrough, Heritage Program Manager; Chris Lydick, District Archeologist, Osceola National Forest; Matt Trager, Planner; and Hope Williams, Administrative Specialist.

Southern Region Lands Staff: Al Foster, Lands Program Manager; Jeff Vail, former Director of Lands; Cynthia Wright, Senior Review Appraiser; and Steve Rinella, Washington Office.

Western Land Group: Tom Glass and Adam Poe.

Columbia County: Dale Williams, County Manager.

Plum Creek Corporation: Allison Megrath, Manager – Real Estate Florida; Greg Galpin, Senior Manager, Planning; Elizabeth Fee, Legal Counsel.

Please accept my sincere congratulations.

/s/

THOMAS L. TIDWELL

Chief