photo Joseph T. Budd, Jr.
Florida Photo Archives
- Joseph T. Budd, Jr

Over 1500 years ago, Native Americans built mound and village complexes throughout northwest Florida. The rivers of northwest Florida linked the Indians with other Indians to the north and facilitated the flow of ideas as well as goods. The remains of one of these villages, the Pace site, has been found at Joe Budd. Referred to as Weeden Island by modern archeologists, this culture was characterized by elaborate burial rituals, entailing lighting of sacred fires, feasting, brewing and drinking of special teas, and offerings of shell cups, ceramic vessels, wolf and panther teeth, and other sacred items. These people were not farmers. They relied on collection of wild foods. As population grew and pressure on natural resources increased, these villages either split into new, smaller villages or were abandoned.

 

photo tobaco barn - 1939
Florida Photo Archives
Gadsden county tobacco barn 1939

In 1975, the state purchased 794 acres from Joseph T. Budd Jr., a prominent businessman in the shade tobacco industry of Gadsden County and manufacturer of "Florida Queen" cigars. An additional 4000 acres were leased from Florida Power Corporation, which was later acquired by the state, and Joe Budd WMA was established. Additional acreage has been added to Joe Budd since then through direct acquisition by FWC and through cooperative management agreements with other state agencies.



FWC Facts:
According to The Economist, ecotourism is the fastest growing segment of world tourism.

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