Boat Access for Timucuan Preserve(FL)

Jacksonville, 2/26/02 – Working through the City of Jacksonville’s Preservation Project, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) has acquired and conveyed to the city a two-acre parcel of land within the National Park Service’s Timucuan Preserve.

The Palms Fish Camp property is on Clapboard Creek, a pristine tributary that flows into the preserve and the St. Johns River. The site contains a popular local restaurant, The Palms, which will continue to serve its eclectic clientele. Of major importance is the boat ramp that exists on the property, which eventually will provide access to the Timucuan Preserve river system for canoes, kayaks and small motorized vessels.

“The Timucuan Preserve is such a beautiful landscape, but unfortunately there are very few access points. With the addition of this boat ramp, access will be much easier. I heartily recommend a visit,” says Susan Grandin, director of TPL’s Jacksonville office.

According to restaurant manager Art Jennette, The Palms will continue to operate under a management agreement with the city.

“We’re still going to be here serving original North Florida foods,” Jennette says. The fish camp has been on the site since the 1950s, and Jennette’s parents owned the property beginning in 1979. Jennette himself started helping out part-time in 1980, and the food service expanded to the point that he went full time in 1995. He is enthusiastic about the preservation of the site.

“We really need more waterways for public use,” he says. “From this site you can get to the Timucuan Preserve and the St. Johns River, which takes you anywhere.”

The city is planning extensive improvements to the boat ramp and small dock at Palms, said Mark Middlebrook, executive director of the Preservation Project Jacksonville. “In the meantime, we won’t be using the ramp until the repairs are made.”

This is the second project involving a boat ramp that TPL has closed for the city in the past month. The first was a former fish camp located on Thomas Creek in the northwest part of the county on the Nassau River.

Although the City of Jacksonville has grown substantially during the past ten years, only one additional boat ramp has been approved by regulatory agencies. Acquisition of these properties will add much-needed access launching facilities for canoes, kayaks and small motorized boats.

This is the fourteenth land acquisition project TPL has completed with the City of Jacksonville’s Preservation Project, helping to preserve more than 2,500 acres in northeast Florida. TPL and the city have been working together since 1999, when TPL entered into a contract with the city to help implement Mayor John Delaney’s “Preservation Project,” Jacksonville’s $362 million “greenprint” for growth management. TPL opened a Jacksonville office in March 2000 to carry out this program. Under TPL’s contractual agreement with the City, TPL is responsible for providing real estate land conservation services in three of the Preservation Project’s priority corridors: the St. Johns River, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Southeast Greenbelt (located between the River and the Intracoastal Waterway).

About TPL: Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization working exclusively to protect land for human enjoyment and well-being. TPL helps conserve land for recreation and spiritual nourishment and to improve the health and quality of life of American communities. Operating in Florida since 1975, TPL has helped save more than 240 sites as community parks, waterfronts, historic sites, greenways and trails. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity for the second year in a row, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. For more information, please visit our web site at