Northwest Florida Greenway

Protecting our military installations while preserving our natural resources.

Partners' Interests | Goals | Memorandum of Partnership | Memorandum of Agreement

The Northwest Florida Greenway project was established in 2001 to protect and sustain existing military lands and airspace, promote continued target industry growth, preserve the environmental quality and biodiversity of the region, maintain the economic viability of the timber lands, and create additional recreational activities by protecting a corridor of undeveloped land between the Eglin Air Force Base Range and the Apalachicola National Forest. Recognizing their common interests in preserving the open land in Florida's Panhandle, the EDC of Okaloosa County, Eglin Air Force Base, the Department of Environmental Protection, and The Nature Conservancy partnered protecting a contiguous corridor of undeveloped land.

With the assistance of state grants, the Northwest Florida Greenway evolved into an unprecedented partnership of military, government and non-profit organizations to protect the military mission in northwest Florida while enhancing the Panhandle’s economy and conserving critical ecosystems in one of the most biologically diverse regions in the United States.

Partners' Interests

Economic Development
The Economic Development Council is committed to continual groth and diversification through existing industry retention and expansion, workforce development and expansion of key industry clusters. The military presence  is the number one economic contributor for Okaloosa County.

Since the mid-90s Eglin leadership has been looking for ways to prevent encroachment on military missions from development of land adjacent to area bases and within the existing military low-level flyway that could restrict their missions and jeopardize their viability. 

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and The Nature Conservancy have long recognized the conservation value of lands in Northwest Florida with its immense biological diversity. It is know as one of the last great wilderness spaces in Florida.  

Goals of the Northwest Florida Greenway

The Northwest Florida Greenway is a conceptual plan to help identify and prioritize land preservation and conservation opportunities that will protect the land and air space corridors.
  • Promote the sustainability of the military mission in northwest Florida to meet national defense testing, operational and training requirements as outlined in the Joint Gulf Range Strategic Plan.
  • Strengthen the regional economy by sustaining the military presence while enabling contract awards with local civilian defense contractors and enhancing tourism.
  • Protect lands that will sustain the high biodiversity of the region, link protected natural areas, preserve water resources and provide areas for outdoor recreation including the Florida National Scenic Trail.

Memorandum of Partnership

On November 12, 2003, then Governor Jeb Bush, the United States Department of Defense, and The Nature Conservancy signed a groundbreaking Memorandum of Partnership to establish a 100-mile protected corridor spanning northwest Florida connecting Eglin Air Force Base and the Apalachicola National Forest. This agreement reserves the first 7,597 acres of the planned 750,000 acre corridor.

"Florida is among the first in the nation to join forces with the Department of Defense to increase security for important military installations while at the same time protecting valuable natural resources."  2003 Florida - Governor Jeb Bush.

Memorandum of Agreement

The July 1, 2004 Memorandum of Agreement, the first of its kind, united Florida’s military and environmental missions. It allows the expanded participating parties the ability to protect the Northwest Florida Greenway and reduce incompatible development through the use of conservation easements in the corridor. The protection provided by this MOA will prevent development encroachment on military operations, protect the region’s biodiversity and water resources, link existing protected areas, provide recreational opportunities and help support the economic health of the region. Along with Okaloosa County and the Economic Development Council the other participants included the U.S. Department of Defense’s Air Armament Center (Eglin AFB), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Florida Department of Community Affairs, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Northwest Florida Water Management District, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Forestry.

The Nature Conservancy now serves as the conduit and environmental steward for this ongoing project.


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