St. Mary's Shoals

St. Mary's Shoals, Florida. Photo: Russell GracePhoto credit: Russell Grace

Arising in the Okefenokee Swamp and forming part of the border between Georgia and Florida, the St. Mary's River flows like dark tea through scenic bluffs, white sandy beaches, and shoals. Residents of Florida's Baker County have long wanted improved access to the St. Mary's, one of Florida's cleanest rivers. So when a 1,600-acre property—nearly two miles of river frontage—came on the market and was eyed by developers, Baker County asked TPL to help secure the land for a public park. In 2011, TPL helped add an additional 928 acres to the county-managed park that supports kayaking, canoeing, hiking and camping while providing much-needed playgrounds and athletic fields. Funding came from the Florida Communities Trust-a state land acquisition grant program.

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3.3 million acres and completed more than 5,400 park and conservation projects.