A 2,909-acre parcel on Lake Kissimmee that was once proposed for a golf course development may be on its way to permanent preservation.
Conservation Florida announced recently that an unnamed philanthropist has purchased the property with the intention of entertaining an offer to sell the development rights through a conservation easement.
The property was proposed in 2016 for a golf resort call Lost Oak, but the project stalled in 2018 when the Polk County Planning Commission voted to recommend denial and the developer withdrew his application a short time later.
The property lies north of Coleman Landing at Shady Oaks, a county park and campground.
The land, which was once the site of fish camps and weekend retreats, was purchased by the South Florida Water Management District in 2004 in connection with the Kissimmee River restoration project, which also included a plan to raise the regulated level of Lake Kissimmee.
However, some of the land ended up in the hands of a developer in 2007 as a result of another land deal elsewhere in the Everglades Basin.
The recent purchase will provide Conservation Florida and its partners time to raise funds to purchase a perpetual conservation easement on the property, which contains many stately live oaks and four miles of lakefront.
This is part of a larger effort to protect as much natural landscape as possible in the Kissimmee River Basin under the H2O: Headwaters to Okeechobee initiative.