A new trail is under construction on Amelia Island. The Amelia River-To-Sea Trail, “ARTS” (A.K.A. Bailey-Simmons Multi-Use Trail), will connect the Atlantic coast beachfront to the island’s western riverfront at Crane Island. For those unfamiliar with the Amelia Island area, Crane Island is near the western end of Bailey Road, next to the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport.
Amelia’s Atlantic Seashore
Where, exactly, is the seaside trailhead? At Amelia Island’s beach access #30 (pictured here).
Some of the new trail will run alongside the existing Simmons Road. Simmons Rd. intersects with South Fletcher Ave. (the road that runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean), near Fernandina Beach access #30.
The western ARTS trail portion is by the Amelia River near the Bailey Road sports fields. About one mile of the trail extends into the new Crane Island development, and will end at a small public park within the community. Total length of the combined east/west trail is around 2.9 miles.
According to a press release issued by Nassau County, Florida “the County, with funding from the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Local Agency Program (LAP), is constructing a 10’ wide, 1.8-mile-long multi-use trail. The intent of the Bailey-Simmons Multi-Use Trail is to provide citizens with an east-west recreational pedestrian and cycling path from Beach Access #30 to the Fernandina Beach Athletic Complex at Bailey Road. This trail is the eastern half of the Amelia River-To-Sea Trail. The Amelia River-To-Sea Trail includes the public multi-use trail constructed by Crane Island Development that extends west from the city’s Complex at Bailey Road to the Amelia River.”
Restrooms & Parking
Wondering about trail parking? Some people prefer to “park and ride.” (Or walk, or run — driving to a trail, then departing on foot or biking). The beach access #30 parking lot is small, offering about a dozen spaces (that tend to be filled already by people just going to the beach). The western area of the trail, near the sports fields at 3243 Bailey Road, has a much larger, existing parking area.
New Simmons Park Coming
However, a new park is planned, the Simmons Road Park (see graphic below), to be located along the ARTS Trail (between Egans Bluff Rd. and Persimmon Circle). The new park will offer some vehicle parking spaces, a bike rack, ADA restrooms, accessible playground equipment, a pavilion, a quarter mile fitness trail through the woods and a dog comfort station.
When will the bike trail be done? The estimated completion date is by August 30, 2019. So locals and visitors can look forward to this new trail for walkers, runners and bikers. Just in time for Amelia Island’s welcomed autumn weather that’s a bit cooler and less humid. Fall is an ideal season to spend more time outdoors and get a bit of exercise. Note that the Crane Island Park where the trail ends at the riverfront, is anticipated to be completed later than August (open by year end 2019). Also, construction of the new Simmons Park has not yet begun at this writing.
Amelia Bike Trail Map
See the Amelia Island Bike Trail Map link below, a downloadable file, to check out the various biking trails island wide. Note that the new ARTS trail is not yet mapped, but you can see Simmons Road where the seaside trailhead will be. Happy trails!
The Bailey-Simmons Multi-Use Trail (ARTS) is the result of successful collaborative efforts by Nassau County, the City of Fernandina Beach, the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization, Florida Department of Transportation, Crane Island Development, Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, Inc., and supportive local citizens.
Become “Trail Friend”
Friends of the Amelia Island Trail, Inc., is a local non-profit organization focused on creating and improving safe walking, running and cycling paths on Amelia Island, FL. Trail blazer, Phil Scanlan, head of the Amelia Island Trail organization, has been instrumental in carving out the elaborate Amelia Island Trails network (see related article). Also visit the AmeliaIslandTrail.org website for info about supporting local trails and volunteering opportunities. You can help Amelia Island’s trails by becoming a “Trail Friend” with $25 contribution (or become a corporate sponsor).