The Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department of Hillsborough County celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program, also known as ELAPP, on April 11th. A host of dignitaries attended the celebration, including former Governor Bob Martinez and former Hillsborough County Jan K. Platt, after whom the County’s ELAPP program has now been named. Attendees observed a variety of natural habitats and species, and even took pontoon boat rides with park preserve personnel.
Hillsborough County voters established ELAPP in the late 1980’s to conserve and protect lands that have irreplaceable and valued ecological resources. The Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department manages 61 properties with more than 61,500 acres of environmentally sensitive wildlife habitat and corridors.
The Jan K. Platt ELAPP Program is currently one of the largest local land acquisition programs in Florida. Approximately one third of the lands have been acquired in partnership with other local, state and federal agencies including the Cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City; the Department of Environmental Protection/Florida Communities Trust Program; and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. With the continued support of taxpayers, ELAPP officials plan to acquire another 30-34,000 acres as well as pay to restore trails and cleanup recreational areas over the next 25 years.