Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area east of St. Cloud in Osceola County will remain public land, the St. Johns River Water Management District announced this week.
District officials reported that negotiations have ended on a controversial land swap that would have turned the popular outdoor recreation area and important regional habitat area into a private agricultural operation.
The land swap had drawn widespread opposition from various recreational user groups ranging from hikers to hunters.
Other critics of the swap pointed out that Bull Creek is important habitat for rare Florida butterfly species such the Arogos Skipper and the Dusted Skipper (pictured at left).
As a result, the site draws a number nature photographers and was among the sites for field trips when the North American Butterfly Association held its national convention at Westgate River Ranch Resort near Lake Wales a few years ago.