Bombing Range Is National Example for Wildlife Conservation
Walking through a wildlife underpass from Nokuse Plantation to Eglin Air Force base feels like traveling back in time.
On the one side is Nokuse: a 54,000-acre private conservation property and site of the largest private longleaf pine restoration project in the world. While there are eight million newly planted longleaf pine trees here, they are mere saplings (only ten years old), so it requires some knowledge and imagination to envision what this place will be like in a few more decades.
Entering Eglin Air Force Base to the west paints a different picture. It is like stepping 200 years into the past, or from the perspective of Nokuse, fast-forwarding 200 years into the future.
Elgin feels ancient. As the Florida Trail climbs out of creek bottom ravines to sandy rises, we are surrounded by the oldest trees we’ve encountered on our entire 1,000-mile Florida Wildlife Corridor expedition. It’s likely there are 300-year-old trees in sight. The Air Force Base is home to the last remaining old-growth longleaf pines in Florida. In the natural resources visitor center, there is a cross section from a 500-year-old tree found on Eglin.