Thomas Creek Wetlands Preserved (FL)

Jacksonville, 2/1/02 — The Trust for Public Land announced today that it has acquired and conveyed to the City of Jacksonville the Thomas Creek Fish Camp, located at the terminus of Ethel Road in extreme northern Duval County. This parcel, which is heavily wooded with large shade trees, is surrounded by similar property, some of which is protected by conservation easements. The nine-acre parcel will provide access to Thomas Creek for small, motorized vessels as well as canoes and kayaks.

“Thomas Creek offers a window into an uninhabited northeast Florida,” said TPL project manager Susan Grandin. “After launching at the Thomas Creek boat ramp, you can travel at least four miles east on the creek without seeing houses, docks, overhead powerlines, or much of any sign of human habitation. It’s the only boat ramp for miles.”

There is a great chance, however, of seeing indigenous wildlife, such as large alligators, woodpeckers, and wading birds. Centuries-old cypress trees line the waterway. Traveling east, Thomas Creek eventually flows into the Nassau River, which in turn flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, the scenery along Thomas Creek changes from a freshwater ecosystem of myrtles, bald cypress and loblolly pines shading a narrow mirror-like and very deep waterway, to open expanses of salt marsh as the creek nears the river.

“This is absolutely pristine wetland habitat,” said Gary Anderson, a citizen member of the Jacksonville Waterways Commission. “It’s going to be a great place for canoes and kayaks.”

The city plans to reopen the boat ramp to the public sometime this year, said Mark Middlebrook, executive director of the Preservation Project Jacksonville.

“The dock and the ramp both need significant repairs before it will be safe to use,” he said.Anderson said the city also is considering adding rustic camping pads in some of the upland areas that would be accessible only by boat.

TPL purchased the property on December 21, 2001. The City closed on the property on Jan 18th, 2002.

This is the twelfth land acquisition project TPL has completed with the City of Jacksonville’s Preservation Project, helping to preserve more than 2500 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.

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