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A couple walking on a wooden bridge in the woods.

A well-known and highly respected amphibian once said, “It’s not easy being green.” And he was right. Figuring out how to build a community that lives in balance and in close relationship with nature is a complicated, work-intensive undertaking. But is it ever worth it.

When a community is oriented around nature — protecting it and connecting to it — day-to-day life takes on a different complexion. It becomes richer. Healthier. Filled with more activity, more fresh air and more moments of quiet awe.

So that’s the kind of community we’re creating in Wildlight. Here’s how …

Sustainable by design

Long before construction began, a team of engineers and scientists worked together on a plan that would allow community and nature to thrive together. What resulted was a new pattern of community, in which neighborhoods and business districts are carefully interwoven with each other and with parks, trails and conservation land. Creating a place that both preserves nature and inspires everyone to get out and enjoy it.

Conservation gone wild

We’ve set aside roughly half of Wildlight’s overall acreage as dedicated conservation land, much of it in the 7,000-acre Wildlight Conservation Network located in the next phase of Wildlight. In Wildlight’s permanently protected wetlands and forests, native species can continue to thrive. And the expanding Wildlight Trailways network (already 10+ miles long) lets you explore these pristine expanses of Northeast Florida lowcountry nature.

All-natural water management

Nature is more than beautiful. It’s practical. It’s really good at what it does. And one of its most important jobs is capturing and purifying water. With its extensive natural forest and wetland areas, Wildlight allows rainfall to seep into the ground, slowly being cleansed as it travels down into the soil, and eventually making its way to the underground aquifer that supplies the region’s drinking water. Even the developed areas of Wildlight are designed to intelligently manage stormwater runoff and allow nature to do its thing.

Mixing it all together

It’s one thing to conserve nature. It’s another to make it readily accessible to people. The community plan for Wildlight lets us do both at the same time. Each homesite has easy connections to parks, trails and big swaths of nature for even more access to the outdoors. And by providing plenty of walking/biking paths and bringing the homes closer not only to nature but to restaurants, shops and offices, we create a community that lives more like a small town where everything is an easy stroll or bike ride away.

More nature, just around the corner

The Wildlight Conservation Network isn’t the only important new nature area we’re introducing in our next phase. We’re also creating a 13-mile-long linear park that will stretch along the bluffs of the St. Marys River. We call it the Green Ribbon. And with its 8 miles of river frontage, the park will be anchored by a variety of experiences including a publicly accessible trail that ties the park together. 

Also, we can’t talk about nearby nature without mentioning the White Oak Conservation center. Located about 10 miles north of Wildlight, White Oak shares some of its heritage with our community since both places are built on land that was once part of Rayonier’s sustainable timber-growing operation. On its 17,000 acres, White Oak helps to protect and advance the understanding of dozens of endangered species including the Florida panther, the Mississippi sandhill crane and three different types of rhinoceros.  

Get a little wild

If you visit Wildlight, you’re welcome to take some time exploring our Wildlight Trailways. You might spot a fox or bobcat or one of the dozens of bird species that migrate along the Atlantic Flyway. You can even experience some of the wetlands using our boardwalk trails. And all along the way, you’ll find fun, informative signs that inspire a deeper understanding and greater appreciation of all things wild and Floridian. 

Download our trail map.

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