Some days at work are more exciting than others. When work and VeloFest collide, the days are rewarding and this week we got to stand in front of our collective efforts in person. We visited the Palatka to St. Augustine Rail Trail, a segment of the River to Sea Loop and and identified major network for the Florida Trail Network. Nearly 20 years into planning and construction it is connecting to the Palatka to Lake Butler Trail to the west by October/November THIS YEAR!!!
This three mile segment connects Vermont Heights, Armstrong, Spuds and Hastings with a separated facility. It is a dreamy tree lined route with beautiful bridges and buffered by the relics of a bustling Main Street of old in Hastings. Undoubtedly, the recent commitment to agritourism by the Trail Godfather Herb Hiller along with FDOT District 2’s funding planning studies to connect the trail to St. Augustine and the Atlantic have played a roll in the volume of riders on the trail. But the original commitment by a handful of people has pushed this slow moving tsunami of a county/state/local/private project over the decades. St. Johns County Parks & Recreation Billy Zeits, Herb Hiller’s vision of the River to Sea Loop, local enthusiast like Linda Crider and Kraig Mclane, Karl Soderholm and the unwavering and often donated support by ETM are the constant drummers who are now rewarded with a benefit to the community as a whole. Once this new segment is completed, sometime in October or November, you can bet we will be there for a grand opening!
In the meantime, keep your eyes open for meetings and events around the trails and River to Sea Loop. We all have heard of the next phase of planning which will connect the trail to the City of St. Augustine, City of St. Augustine Beach and eventually the Flagler County Line.
See you on the trail. Enjoy the pictures.