City dedicates new wildlife trail

Kenneth Detwyler Jr.
Posted 5/18/17

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County’s newest hidden gem is ready to be discovered.

On May 16, the City of Green Cove Springs officially opened the Wildlife Corridor Trail, a new half-mile biking …

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City dedicates new wildlife trail

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County’s newest hidden gem is ready to be discovered.

On May 16, the City of Green Cove Springs officially opened the Wildlife Corridor Trail, a new half-mile biking and walking trail tucked away in a wooded area near the corner of Oakridge Avenue and Green Cove Avenue. It’s just feet away from the old Gustafson dairy farm facility on land the city acquired using funds from the Florida Communities Trust and the Florida Forever program.

According to city Development Services Director Janis Fleet, the project is a result of the city applying for and receiving a competitive recreational trails grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 2012. The city received a $45,000 grant that was to be matched with up to $30,000 in city funds to complete the one-mile trail, which is not paved but described as a multi-use natural surface.

The trail features self-guided fitness activities, educational signs, and is disability compliant, all factors which contributed to receiving the grant.

“It’s very important for people to come out and enjoy nature,” Fleet said. “In two minutes, you’re in downtown Green Cove, yet you are in nature.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to officially open the new trails. Outgoing Mayor Pamela Lewis honored numerous city staffers who made the project possible. The trail’s opening ceremony was a chance for those employees to receive recognition and celebrate the fruits of their labor.

The trails are just the latest recreational project tackled by the city. The $2 million dollar Spring Park renovation is also in progress across town, both projects mark a new chapter for Green Cove Springs eco-tourism.

“It will attract people to this region both economically and recreationally,” Lewis said. “So many people come here for the recreational opportunities, it will be wonderful.”

Future plans call for the trails to connect with ones created by the county and even extend to area bodies of water.

Needless to say, local outdoorsmen and women are the most excited for this new trail.

“I think this is a great project, and a great trail. They kept it in its natural state, which in my opinion is the way it should be, said Chris Rodatz, chairman of the Clay County bicycles, blue ways and trails committee. “I think it’s a great start, because people will see that Green Cove Springs is thinking of its citizens, thinking of its environment, and think of what it’s going to look like in 5-10 years.”

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