Watch the video below featuring Egans Greenway in Fernandina Beach. For those unfamiliar with Egans Creek Greenway, it’s a natural area encompassing over 300 acres on Amelia Island, managed by the city of Fernandina Beach, Florida.
It’s a peaceful place to spend time and is great for a bike ride, hike, nature and wildlife observation and photography. Part of the Florida Forever Conservation Program, the acreage was acquired by the Florida Communities Trust and the city of Fernandina Beach about ten years ago (see more further below about guided walking tours of the Greenway that take place twice a month).
This short video overview offers glimpses of some of the beautiful native wildflowers, the grassy paths and natural vistas (video by ToePhoto Commercial Photography). Also read lots more about Egans Greenway further below…
Egans Creek Greenway has evolved over the past decade into one of the best places to glimpse local wildlife on Amelia Island. It’s one of the most accessible and peaceful spots on this barrier island to be outdoors in nature, and it’s free. Over 300 acres that run north to south along Egans Creek, the Greenway was opened for public use in the summer of 2000 as an undeveloped park for passive recreational use. Wide, grass-covered pathways are perfect for walking and bicycling. (Note that no motorized vehicles are allowed in the Greenway.) A natural sanctuary for wildlife, various kinds of creatures live, nest, and feed in the Greenway. Thus, be sure not to stray off the walking trails. (Leashed dogs are allowed in the Greenway, but please pick up after your pet.)
Almost any day you venture into the Greenway for a walk or bike ride, you’ll likely spot many varieties of wildflowers and bird species. White egrets, ibis, and blue herons are common sights. The Greenway is a haven for bird enthusiasts and wildlife photographers. (Read more about Amelia Island birding, including Egans Greenway in the article “Amelia Island: Birder’s Paradise, Gateway East Florida Birding.”) Also frequenting the Greenway in summer months are Roseate Spoonbills (these large birds have a beautiful pink hue). Migrating butterflies love a variety of wild flowers in the Greenway, including the white flowers of Spanish Needle (Beggarticks) in the Greenway on this barrier island in northeast Florida. (See photo of two Gulf Fritillaries below).
You’ll see signs warning to “beware” of gators and not to feed them in both sides of the Greenway. It’s fairly common to see a gators in Egans Creek, especially in the south section of the Greenway (hanging around in areas with thick green duckweed floating on the water).
Brown marsh rabbits hop along the grassy paths and turtles are often seen sunning themselves on logs in the creek. The Greenway has many critters including bobcats, and is a sanctuary to local residents who appreciate a peaceful spot to enjoy nature. If you’re lucky, you may spot some river otters in the creek. The Greenway is a place where you usually won’t see many folks, but rather a sprinkling of people along the trails hiking, biking, birdwatching, or walking a dog, and is especially pleasant in the fall/winter when the bugs abate.
To enter the Greenway’s north section, go to the city of Fernandina’s Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center, located at 2500 Atlantic Avenue, where you’ll find the entrance to the Greenway behind the auditorium. This is a good place to park a vehicle to enter the north side of the Greenway, as you can utilize the Recreation Center’s large parking lot as well as public restrooms at this Greenway entrance/exit. Also, trail maps are available at the Atlantic Recreation Center during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am – 6 pm. There’s also Greenway access to both the north section and south section from Jasmine Street (between Citrona and South Fletcher Ave.), with limited parking along Jasmine near the entrances to the Greenway. The Greenway can also be entered and departed from Citrona Avenue at Beech Street and Hickory Street via foot or bicycle (but no place to park a vehicle). Plus as noted above, the newest entrance/exit is located at Sadler Road behind the Residence Inn.
GUIDED TOURS OF EGANS GREENWAY
If you’d like a guided tour of Egans Greenway, leisurely walking tours to learn about the flora and fauna are held on the third Saturday each month from 9 to 11 am and also on the fourth Tuesday each month from 10 am to noon. These Greenway tours require advance registration (at least a week ahead of time) , call the Fernandina Beach Atlantic Rec Center at 904-277-7350.
FERNANDINA BEACH BUILT A “GREEN BRIDGE”
At eight feet wide and 500 feet long, the south Greenway’s new pedestrian bridge winds its way through Egans Creek’s wetlands (entry to this foot bridge and the southern section of Egans Greenway is located off Sadler Road behind Amelia Island‘s Residence Inn by Marriot). Nature Bridges built the foot bridge, utilizing green bridge construction. A technique called “top down construction, “ was implemented to accomplish the task, which means the machinery and equipment used to build the foot bridge stayed on the structure, not the ground, virtually eliminating destruction of sensitive vegetation and wildlife habitats. Nature Bridges also used recycled structural plastic for the decking and handrails.
SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR EGANS GREENWAY
The city of Fernandina offers some guidelines for the Greenway trails, on its web site (also online Greenway brochures). These safety guidelines to keep in mind include: “Stay on designated trails. Wild animals may react defensively or simply take flight if approached too closely. If you are lucky enough to observe a wild animal in its natural environment, enjoy it from a safe distance. Be alert for natural hazards such as stinging or biting insects, alligators, snakes, thorny vines, poison ivy, and overhanging limbs. Leave plants and animals undisturbed. Keep the noise level you produce to a minimum so as not to disturb wildlife and other trail users. Pack out all trash that you bring to the area. Remove any waste that your pet(s) may leave on the trails.”