As study after study confirms, there’s simply no end to the benefits humans derive from being close to nature. Exposure to greenery has been shown to lower stress levels, improve eye health, inspire greater creativity, enhance sleep, sharpen mental focus, provide more energy and engender in folks a deeper commitment to staying fit, among many other benefits. Add it up, and a home address proximate to frondescence has been found to deliver the greatest benefit of all: Those who live close to nature live longer lives, as compared to those residing a distance from natural surroundings.
It’s no great stretch, then, to find the newest status symbol among luxury home buyers may be the ability to live within steps of protected lands. Today’s luxury buyers not only seek high-end features and finishes and exclusive amenities, they also desire living experiences that aren’t found elsewhere, and will remain pristine.
Developers are responding with properties that deliver a “last chance opportunity” to live on last-of-its-kind real estate, offering unprecedented access or placed on previously undeveloped parcels of terra firma.
Juniper Preserve, Bend, Oregon
Set on 640 acres that stretch within a 1,000-year-old juniper forest in central Oregon, luxury community Juniper Preserve is segmented into four distinct niches serving up Cascade Mountain perspectives and unsurpassed natural beauty.
The exclusive home community is situated at the Cascade Mountains’ eastern base and is encircled by 20,000 acres of federally protected land.
“Juniper Preserve [offers] stunning views of Mount Bachelor and the Three Sisters Wilderness, creating a secluded and peaceful environment to retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life,” says Spencer Shaub, general manager of Juniper Preserve.
“Residents and guests can take advantage of a long list of outdoor activities available just steps from their front doors. Homes and public spaces – along with our wellness programming – take inspiration from Juniper Preserves’ natural resources, fostering a strong connection to nature and to each other.”
Caye Chapel, Belize
Situated on the lip of the Belize Barrier Reef, Caye Chapel is a sustainability-centric, luxury private island community that is accessible solely via island-coordinated air and water charters. Belize Barrier Reef is a protected marine wildlife preserve on the edge of what is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Four Seasons Resort & Private Residences Caye Chapel, which will feature 24 private beach and oceanfront residences, a hotel and exclusive overwater bungalows, represents the first-ever private island offering within the Americas.
“All of our Four Seasons Private Residences on the island are situated oceanfront, allowing owners to wake up, get into their kayaks and paddle to the reef in a matter of minutes to maximize their time exploring the abundant marine life and coral diversity it’s known for,” says Steve Glass, director of Resort Real Estate at Thor Urbana. “The island itself is devoted to uncovering the wonders of the open ocean, preserving what we find and allowing opportunities for our owners and guests to appreciate it.”
Panther National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Being unveiled late this year within the private high-end community of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. is the first modern, luxury South Florida golf course community of its kind. The development will be dotted with 218 custom estates designed by acclaimed environmentalist architect Max Strang, next to a Jack Nicklaus-crafted golf course.
Surrounding the development is the 2,400-acre preserve Avenir Conservation Area, which serves as a wildlife corridor linking a number of natural preserves extending from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Okeechobee.
Set aside as a preserve by the Avenir community, it’s undergoing a restoration that will bring back historical native Florida ecosystems. “Panther National’s vision puts environmental sustainability at the forefront of everything we do,” says Dominik Senn, founder and president of Panther National. “We’ve found many of our buyers appreciate this close proximity to nature, and consider the bordering conservation area a key selling point of the Panther National Community.”