Lake County Government to purchase land at center of dispute with state over mining operations

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — The Lake County Government is planning to pay nearly $6 million to take control of the old Eustis sand mine.


The land in question has been the center of controversy for years. It consists of more than a thousand acres near the Lake Norris conservation area.

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The Saint Johns River Water Management District agreed to let a company called Blackwater Creek  Wetlands Mitigation mine the land for sand if it paid to restore some of the wetlands on the property.

The county stood to make millions from the deal, but county officials refused to approve the permits for the mining, citing concerns about the noise and impact on the roads and wildlife with the constant truck traffic.

South Lake Trail and Cherrylake Partnership

🌳👟🚴‍♂️ When you’re out on the South Lake Trail you may notice some newly planted trees along County Road 565A. Our community partners Cherrylake, Inc. worked with our team and the City of Groveland, FL - Municipal Government to help beautify the area for all to enjoy. Public/private partnerships like this are what make Lake County a great place to live, work and play! See you out on the trail!

Posted by Lake County Florida on Friday, February 25, 2022

“Like 400 dump trucks a day,” resident Cindy Musselwhite said. “It’s just a lot of noise.”

When the county refused to issue the hauling permits, the company sued, sparking a legal battle that will end with the county paying the company more than $5 million to give up its rights to mine.

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The goal is to then have the state transfer the land to the county to maintain and restore, a huge victory for the people living in the area.

“I’m just really glad,” Musselwhite said. “I hope it stays that way it is right now, the way it’s meant to be.”

The details of the land transfer still need to be finalized.

The county will also have to decide exactly what to do with the land.

Lake County Commission Chairman Sean Parks has said he’d like to see it turned into an eco-park for recreation to complement the Lake Norris Conservation area the state already has there.

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Parks says one of the first priorities will be removing the non-native species and perhaps conduct a series of controlled burns.

He says it would likely be a matter of years before it could be opened for recreation.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.