Nocatee Greenway and Preserve Trail Systems
Recreational opportunities abound with
Nocatee’s Greenway and Preserve Trail Systems
Long-term protection of the natural environment and sustainability are hallmarks of life at Nocatee. To provide residents with access to nature, the community has an extensive trail system that winds throughout these conservation lands, connecting neighborhoods and amenities with the land’s natural splendor.
More than a decade of planning went into creating the long-term vision for Nocatee. The cornerstone of the community’s master plan is protection of the natural environment to safeguard its inherent beauty and responsibly manage its resources for future generations. The PARC Group set aside more than 60 percent of Nocatee’s lands as permanent preserves, never to be developed.
The Nocatee Greenway is a preservation area of more than 5,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land. The community’s Greenway Trails offer residents easy access to these preserved lands by linking to 330 acres of parks, common areas and the Nocatee Splash Water Park and Nocatee Town Center without having to use their vehicles.
The interconnecting Greenway Trail System, which is easily within reach of all of the community’s neighborhoods, includes miles of multiuse 16-foot-wide pathways and 1,200 feet of bridges that wander throughout wetlands. Designed for tranquil recreational pursuits, the path’s first phase is three miles long, with additional phases planned.
The Greenway Trail, an idyllic venue for viewing nature, incorporates migratory routes for area wildlife and also includes trail map kiosks and environmental education signs. It is not unexpected for hikers to see protected species such as American bald eagles, wood storks, gopher tortoises, Sherman’s fox squirrels, Eastern indigo snakes and various wading birds, along with other indigenous wildlife.
St. Johns County residents will also soon have access to the community’s protected areas with the upcoming opening of the trails within the Nocatee Preserve, 2,400 acres of environmentally sensitive lands donated to the county by The PARC Group. The trails stretch three and one-half miles along the Intracoastal Waterway, winding throughout the peaceful preserve areas.
The opening of the Nocatee Preserve Trails enhances the experience for residents and county residents alike. “We are so proud that the county has completed the Nocatee Preserve Trailhead and will soon open the Nocatee Preserve Trail System to county residents, who will enjoy years and years of wonderful use,” said Wil Smith, Assistant Director of St. Johns County Parks and Recreation. “It is a beautiful area and a great destination for quiet recreational endeavors.”
The natural, unpaved trails are ideal for walking, jogging, mountain biking, bird watching, photographing nature or horseback riding. Located just south of Davis Park and near Ponte Vedra High School, the trail head offers parking for vehicles and horse trailers, as well as restroom facilities.
“The Preserve is situated south of the Palm Valley Bridge on the natural estuary directly across from the Guana Preserve. The long-term impact is that this section of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine will be preserved for perpetuity,” said Chris Pilinko, project director at the PARC Group.
Designed to offer future access to the Intracoastal Waterway through canoe and kayak launches, the trails are the first phase of The Nocatee Preserve’s management plan, which allows for passive recreational improvements such as natural and paved trails, overlooks, boardwalks and environmental signage.
“County residents can enjoy a picnic at Davis Park and then spend hours exploring Nocatee’s serene beauty by hiking through the preserve trail and connecting with nature,” said Smith, who adds that the trails will be open daily from dusk to dawn.
The Ponte Vedra and Palm Valley area is known for its ranches and horse stables. Since there are few equestrian trails open to the public in St. Johns County, the trails provide horse enthusiasts with another venue for recreational activities.
As a result of careful planning and a commitment to long-term preservation, the more than 500 families currently residing in Nocatee enjoy private and secluded living within one of Northeast Florida’s most dynamic communities. Located on the border of Duval and St. Johns counties, the community is comprised of residential villages surrounded by greenways allowing it to offer the best of small town living with easy access to Jacksonville, the Beaches and St. Augustine.
Nocatee’s Welcome Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. To learn more about life in Nocatee, call 1-800-Nocatee or visit www.Nocatee.com.