Designates 12 sites for non-motorized watercraft
Mayor Alvin Brown today designated 12 park sites for kayakers, canoeist, paddle boarders, sail boarders and other water enthusiasts to access the St. Johns River and its tributaries.
The sites are part of the mayor’s initiative to create more active recreational opportunities along the St. Johns River and in parks.
“The St. Johns River is one of our greatest resources, and these launches will enable residents and visitors to get out on the water and enjoy it,” Brown said. “As more and more people experience our river, they will begin to see Jacksonville as a destination.”
The St. Johns Riverkeeper echoed Mayor Brown’s remarks and emphasized the positive impact that enhanced access may have for the river.
“The St. Johns Riverkeeper believes the greater the connection our community has with the St. Johns, the more it will support its protection and restoration.” St. Johns Riverkeeper Neil Armingeon said “We want to thank Mayor Brown and the citizens who have worked so hard to expand public access to our river and tributaries, and we look forward to seeing folks get out and enjoy our waterways.”
Jacksonville Waterways Commissioner Penny Thompson says the initiative meets a growing need.
“I think this is huge,” Thompson said. “There are sites out there, but we need more. The enthusiasm for being able to launch non-motorized watercraft is growing in this community.”
Dr. Quinton White, Executive Director of the Marine Science Research Institute at Jacksonville University, says by responding to the need for more river access, Mayor Brown is also providing more economical ways for people to experience Jacksonville and encouraging river advocacy.
“This is an exciting step in helping people know where they can access the St. Johns River in non-motorized vessels. The more people can use and enjoy the river, the more they will support a clean and safe river for everyone to appreciate,” White said. “I applaud the mayor for moving quickly in response to people asking for help in identifying locations to launch kayaks. More and more people are using kayaks as a fun and economical way to experience the natural environment here in Northeast Florida.”
The newly-designated sites include shoreline launches, boat ramps and docks. Brown said his administration is moving forward with plans to identify and post signage at additional sites, adding that it is an ongoing process.
The mayor released a list of the 12 sites, one each on the Ribault and Ortega rivers, two on the Trout River and 8 on the banks of the St. Johns. Two of the St. Johns River sites are downtown. With the addition of the newly posted sites, Jacksonville now has 44 public launch sites for motorized and/or non-motorized watercraft.
To make it convenient for people to find the sites, park employees posted signs at each location, and a map is available online at www.jaxparks.com
For years, kayakers and other paddle sports enthusiasts have sought more opportunities for public access to Jacksonville’s waterways. Mayor Brown has listened.
As part of the mayor’s commitment to take Jacksonville to the next level, he is working to create more opportunities for people to enjoy the city’s waterways, parks and preserves.
The newly-designated sites are:
Mandarin Park, 14780 Mandarin Road
County Dock, 2403 County Dock Road
Nathan Krestul Park, 2001 LaVaca Road
Stinson Park, 4050 San Juan Ave.
St. Johns Marina, 901 Museum Circle
Metro Park Marina, 4110 Gator Bowl Drive
Blue Cypress Park, 4012 University Blvd. N.
Arlington Lions Club Park, 4233 Richard D. Gatlin Road
Reddie Point Preserve, 4499 Yachtsman Way
North Shore Park, 7901 Pearl St.
Ribault River Preserve, 2617 Ribault Scenic Drive
Riverview Park, 9620 E. Water St.