| Walton County's Proposed 2040 Mobility Plan Threatens Conservation Lands|
|Mobility plans serve as a blueprint for counties to meet the growth, travel, and mobility needs of their communities, and are the basis for counties to charge developers fees to fund transportation projects. In this way, growth which causes increased demand on transportation infrastructure helps fund that infrastructure’s expansion. Mobility plans can be a means of creating more resilient communities when well designed, or can fund sprawl when they are not. Audubon’s Northwest Florida chapters are sounding the alarm that Walton County’s recently Proposed 2040 Mobility Plan could have dire impacts on state-owned conservation lands and drive sprawl in this scenic part of the Panhandle.|
Walton’s Proposed Mobility Plan includes several new or expanded roads, trails, and multimodal travel lanes that would slice through Point Washington State Forest and Wildlife Management Area, Deer Lake State Park, and the Choctawhatchee Bay Water Management Area and Wildlife Management Area. This would cause habitat loss and fragmentation, impaired water quality and resilience, threats to plants and wildlife, increased sea-level rise vulnerability, the loss of traditional recreation use, and sprawl.
A holistic vision for Walton County’s future must be one that balances growth with protecting our public lands, discouraging development in vulnerable areas, and conserving pristine natural areas for future generations to enjoy. These public lands will need you to lend them your voice soon—stay tuned here for updates and alerts on this issue.