Check back regularly to see status of on-going committee projects.
Water Quality Committee
Public Access & Outreach Committee (Trails and Corridor Committee)
Click for a video on the St. Johns River to Sea Loop Trail
ST. JOHNS RIVER TOURISM, RIVER TRAILS
The 19th century after the Civil War marked the heyday of St. Johns River tourism. Artists and adventurers, innkeepers and homesteaders came up the north-flowing St. Johns by riverboat. Upstream led to a region that people of those times called south Florida, what today we call central Florida. Many came looking for land. Tourism begat land sales before anyone dreamed of developing coastal Florida all the way to Miami. But railroads and then highways soon carried tourists and settlers far south. River tourism ended. For a hundred years, tourism along the St. Johns has been small bore, chiefly again for adventurers and, even in Jacksonville, mainly for business travelers.
That long decline and dormancy has been good to the river. For while tourism has flourished along beaches of river counties, river towns themselves have grown slowly and quietly. In these times, people thoughtful about Florida’s future believe that St. Johns River tourism might now re-start in a more sustainable way. The River Alliance has an interest because our sole mission is to protect the river. In terms of tourism, we ask ourselves, How can we use the presence of outsiders, temporarily here at leisure, to help satisfy our mission? The answer is obviously to attract people who seek more authentic Florida and whose presence, converted to an improved river economy, will make the natural river more broadly important.
The Alliance is moving ahead with tourism in three ways.
One is by partnering with additional not-for-profit organizations that also make protection of the river a top or near-top priority, and together marketing river tourism that supports conservation values. This approach differs from the heads-in-beds priority typically favored by marketers that relegates resource protection to catch-as-catch-can.
Two is by demonstrating to the travel industry that, in these times, conservation-based tourism constitutes sound positioning. At a time when people grow more conserving in their own day-to-day lives, a destination like the entire St. Johns that can demonstrate conservation as an irrefutable first value, will succeed better in competitive marketing than it might otherwise. Conservation that represents smart marketing will best attract established tourism marketers to what the Alliance offers.
Three is the particular value of trails and greenways through the river region. The river is in fact a greenway and a blueway. Its most compelling stories recount journeys. The Alliance seeks to develop a combined greenway-blueway the entire 310 miles of the river. Such popular recreational and tourism uses will advance awareness of the river and its littoral as a single resource that requires advocacy everywhere at the local level.
[This site will soon add sites and additional leisure opportunities along the river that reflect conservation priority. Return from time to time to see the new listings.]
Land Acquisition Committee
St John's Interactive River MapClick Here To View Map
St John's River Alliance
2029 North 3rd Street
Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32250
(904) 247-1972 x 414