Trail Talk

Building trails and paths for bicyclists, runners and
walkers is more like a marathon than a sprint.

Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, Inc., has been in the trail business for some years now and if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that trails don’t get built overnight! In fact, they can take years to be completed. Case in point, it’s been over six years since we completed the Amelia Island Trail (AIT) and began working on the Amelia River-to-Sea (ARTS)Trail… and we just had our grand opening ceremony for the ARTS Trail on September 23rd this year!

As with the Amelia Island Trail, the new ARTS trail was the result of years of work by many people; the dedication ceremony recognized many of those individuals and groups. The work by those community leaders has really paid off and this new multi-use trail will produce many years of enjoyment by local residents and guests. You can read those dedication remarks and see a map and photo tour of the new ARTS Trail elsewhere in this site.

What’s next? Well, several more trails and trail segments are planned. The Amelia Island Trail extensions from South Fletcher to the west along the Amelia Island Parkway to the intersection with A1A are in various stages of design and will be constructed in several segments. A multiuse trail from Citrona Drive near the High School heading west along Hickory Street and culminating downtown at Front and Centre Streets is in early design stages. Another trail running south to north alongside Will Hardee Rd and Citrona Dr is in planning. Yet another is envisioned alongside N. 14 St from Atlantic Avenue to the Dee Dee Bartels Boat Ramp near Ft Clinch State Park. Developers of Crane Island have partnered with us and are finalizing the extension of the ARTS Trail to the Amelia River, including construction of a public pier on the river. And plans are being made to re-establish regular passenger, bicycle and pedestrian ferry service between Fernandina Beach, FL and St. Marys, GA. This ferry initiative will make possible an over-water “shortcut” for north-south riders on the East Coast Greenway (see, and begin an ambitious Fernandina-St. Marys joint project. Other trail-related projects are also in the works with both City and County leadership:

  1. City support. The City of Fernandina Beach has established a funding stream to help design a local trail project, and in conjunction with the City of St Marys GA, has budgeted “seed money” to help fund operation of that scheduled ferry service between Fernandina Beach and St. Marys. Thank You, St. Marys and Fernandina!
  2. County Trails. Nassau County has begun a wide-ranging program to establish trails, paths and sidewalks throughout the County. Recognizing the rapid population growth expected for the County, this is a landmark policy decision that will pay dividends to the cycling, walking and running public over the next few years. Nassau County’s leadership on this is much appreciated.

We have been discovered! Outstanding facilities and local support in the Amelia Island community for cycling and running events has not gone unnoticed. Numerous regional running and cycling events are now being held on a regular basis on Amelia Island (see our list of such events elsewhere in this site).

Real Estate near bike trails. Have you looked at the sales advertisements for homes on Amelia Island lately? More and more often you will notice real estate agents are adding words like “… only blocks to the beach on the new trail”, or “…amenities include access to the Amelia Island Trail”, or “…ride your bike or walk to the beach on the new paved path.”. Also, in response to customer demand, sales and rental business for bicycles has boomed.

Our community is leading the way for more and more outdoor pursuits. By offering a range of opportunities and venues for outdoor activities Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island and Nassau County are becoming the destinations of choice for active families and individuals.

Yes, trail building takes some time. But, together we are in it for the long haul and we ARE making progress… trails are now way cool!

Mike Pikula, President,
Friends of the Amelia Island Trail Inc.

Older Archived Trail Talk page.


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