Historic American Beach, Amelia Island, FL
With so much development happening around Amelia Island and nearby on the mainland in Nassau County, it’s welcomed news when significant parcels are successfully saved from eventually being built upon. The North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) accomplished the purchase of three parcels in historic American Beach, getting the year 2021 off to a good start. The privately-owned lots were part of an important dune system.
According to the NFLT, “only 7% of Nassau County land has been preserved…the average Florida county has 29% of land preserved.”
The North Florida Land Trust paid $1.3 million to save an area of the “Little Nana” dune (and desire to also acquire the remaining three adjacent undeveloped lots). The “Little Nana” land purchase was financed, as time was of the essence, and NFLT is asking for donations to “Amelia Forever.”
Tallest Dune System in Florida
If the name “Nana” sounds familiar, at 60 feet, it’s known as the tallest dune system remaining in the state of Florida, that was protected from development in past years. “Little Nana” (46+ feet tall), is located a bit down the street (on the opposite side), near Burney Park, just south of “Nana.” Learn more by watching NFLT’s informative video further below including aerial footage of the dune system for a bird’s-eye view.
National Register of Historic Places
Back in 2002, the American Beach Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, recognizing the beach enclave for its African American cultural heritage.
“Nana” At American Beach
Big “Nana” became part of the National Park Service more than a decade ago (included as part of the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve). As noted in the video below, Nana’s preservation is the legacy of the late MaVynee Betsch, “The Beach Lady.” She was a nature lover and the most vocal American Beach advocate for saving “Nana,” and also preserving the cultural heritage of American Beach.
The coastal dune system is natural habitat, home to gopher tortoises who make their burrows in this area. And besides tortoises and bird life, it’s also a place where native flora thrives, such as Gaillardi (AKA blanket flower) and Wild Bee Balm (AKA horse mint).
For those unfamiliar with American Beach, the community is located between Amelia Island’s largest beach & golf resorts. Omni Amelia Island Plantation is along its southern border, and the Summer Beach resort area at its northern border.
Donations For Land Preservation
Donations can be made specifically for the “Amelia Forever” initiatives, or for other NFLT initiatives, see NFLT website. Those interested in volunteering time can also help support their efforts.
More About North Florida Land Trust
NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with willing landowners and public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations. Visit the North Florida Land Trust website to learn more.