Author Topic: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?  (Read 20895 times)

stjr

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J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« on: September 26, 2009, 01:40:16 PM »
"The National Parks, America's Best Idea", a 6 part Ken Burns documentary starting tomorrow night at 8 PM on PBS and continuing through Friday night, promises to greatly boost American's appreciation of our national (and, hopefully, our state and local) parks and monuments.

Having visited some of our great western parks, such as Yosemite and Yellowstone, it's too bad more of the eastern U.S. hasn't been equally well preserved.  I am thinking that aside from the Everglades and the Smoky Mountains/Shenandoah Valley, we don't have nearly the expansive public lands preserved that the west has.

Locally, I think it would be great if someone would approach the Davis family about purchasing/donating their remaining tens of thousands of acres of their Dee Dot ranch and Nocatee properties for a really special preservation of what's left of historic and natural "old" Florida.  Combined with the Timucuan preserve, Jacksonville could have its own version of the "Yellowstone of the East"  which would also serve as a great tourist draw.  For the Davis Family, it would become an indelible legacy left for Florida and Jacksonville that would be remembered and appreciated far beyond their family businesses such as Winn-Dixie, American Heritage, Nocatee, and Pablo Creek.

For what it's worth, the Rockefeller Family did much to boost many of our national parks including buying up some 200,000 plus acres which they donated to the U.S. to create the Grand Teton National Park.  They also created St. John, Virgin Islands, National Park.  Several National Parks have tributes to them.


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James Ellsworth "J.E." Davis, one of the four brothers who founded Winn-Dixie and the one who emerged as the family leader, focused on accumulating property -- 51,000 acres of which is known as the Dee Dot Ranch in southeastern Duval County and northeastern St. Johns County. But his descendants appear to be divesting themselves of those holdings.

From: http://jacksonville.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/stories/1999/07/19/story3.html

« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 05:42:11 PM by stjr »
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

buckethead

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2009, 02:25:05 PM »
A pine plantation as a national park?

stjr

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2009, 03:51:58 PM »
A pine plantation as a national park?

What's wrong with that?  How many acres of pine forests will be left in Duval County when all the land zoned for development gets developed?  Very little.

Add pristine intracoastal frontage, wetlands/swamps, disappearing and endangered Florida native flora and fauna, greenway connectivity, migratory birding, perhaps some archaeological and/or geological sites of interest, and a great "snippet" of what Northeast Florida really was before man invaded in big numbers - and, you have plenty of reasons to preserve this land than to overrun it with more urban sprawl.  Don't forget to add all the recreational opportunities for visitors:  hiking and bicyling trails, waterways for canoeing, kayaking, and boating, nature watching, camping, general back-to-nature communing, etc.

That's what preservation is all about - saving something that is otherwise disappearing forever. When your descendants view this area, what you have always taken for granted will be gone forever without such actions. 

Perhaps, you need to visit more of our great parks to understand what you have lost already.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 05:41:19 PM by stjr »
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

stjr

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2009, 04:50:57 PM »
For attendance at National Parks, Historic Sites, Memorials, etc. for the years 2004 to 2008 by location, see: http://www.nature.nps.gov/stats/viewReport.cfm .

Interestingly, the Timucan National Ecoloigcial and Historical Preserve shows over 1 million visitors in 2008 and Ft. Caroline shows about 280,000.  To the south, Fort Matanzas had 813,000 and Castillo De San Marcos had 619,000.  Those are substantial numbers and show the economic development potential already being derived.

Below is a National Park Service review I found on the year 2007:


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The 58 national parks were the most popular park category in 2007 with 62.3 million visits...

Ten Most Visited National Parks, 2007 Recreational Visits

1.Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 9,372,253
2.Grand Canyon National Park, 4,413,668
3.Yosemite National Park, 3,503,428
4.Yellowstone National Park, 3,151,343
5.Olympic National Park, 2,988,686
6.Rocky Mountain National Park, 2,895,383
7.Zion National Park, 2,657,281
8.Grand Teton National Park, 2,588,574
9.Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 2,486,656
10.Acadia National Park, 2,202,228

According to the National Park Service's latest overview of historical visitation statistics, it recorded 1 million visits to parks in 1920, 17 million visits in 1940, 79 million visits in 1960, 198 million visits in 1980, 286 million in 2000, and 273 million in 2006. In total it reports, that since 1916, more than 17 billion people have visited national parks.

From:http://www.peoplelandandwater.gov/nps/nps_02-27-07_national_park_service.cfm
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

Ocklawaha

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2009, 07:35:02 PM »
stjr, I love the idea, but not the location. Did you know there is a jet airport 8,000 ft runway and all, in the middle of that land? I rather agree that a pine plantation, flat, with some extensive wetlands isn't all that varied. The Timucan Preserve on the other hand, could be made into a REAL wetlands national park similar but very different then the glades. The other location would be the Ocala National Forest, with its crystal springs, hills, swamps, and lakes. If we were to push that East over US17 and around the East side of Crescent Lake there is a wetlands area that extends from there all the way to Okeechobee.

Some of that Davis Property would make for a great State or regional park, did you know this is where the intercoastal waterway idea was hatched in the 1500's? Yep. We were also the LAST SEGMENT finished! Go figure, it's Jacksonville, but some interesting history.

Keep me posted, I am very interested.


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Ocklawaha

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2009, 07:50:37 PM »
Stjr, here's the airport data, would still make for a cool fly-in/lodge/resort/State Park complex.

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Deep Forest Airport
General Type: Airport, Status: Operational, Acivation Date: 10/01/1985, Land Area Covered By Airport: 50 acres, Ownership: Privately owned, Facility Use: Private, Site Number: 03250.2*A, Location ID: FD48, Region: Southern, District Office: ORL, Aeronautical sectional chart: Jacksonville, Tie-In FSS: No, Tie-In FSS ID: GNV, Tie-In FSS Name: Gainesville, Tie-In FSS Toll-Free Number: 1-800-WX-BRIEF, Elevation: 24 ft, Elevation determination method: Estimated, Air traffic control tower: No, Boundary ARTCC (FAA) computer ID: ZCJ, Boundary ARTCC ID: ZJX, Boundary ARTCC Name: Jacksonville, Airspace Determination: Conditional, NOTAM Service: No, Inspection Group: Owner, Inspection Method: 5010-2 Private use mail out program
Location State: Florida, County: Duval, City: Jacksonville, GPS (Degrees): Lat: 30° 14' 30.870'', Lng: -81° 26' 59.307'', GPS (Seconds): Lat: 30.241908, Lng: -81.449807, GPS determination method: Estimated, Distance from central business district: 12 mi (E), Find on map >>
Owner George Hodges, Jr., Po Box 16771, Jacksonville, Fl 32245-6771, 904-509-8501
Manager John R. Cathey, 5101 Hodges Blvd., Jacksonville, Fl 32245-7393, 904-223-0153
Schedule Unattended facility
Aircrafts Jet Engine Aircrafts: 2
Additional Fuel Types: A1, Magnetic Variation: 3W (Year 1985), Lighting Schedule: Phone Req, Non-Commercial Landing Fee: No, Wind direction indicator: Yes, Segmented circle airport marker system: No
Remarks Airspace Determination: VFR, PVT USE ONLY.



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stjr

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2009, 09:25:41 PM »
Ock, here is an aerial of the runway from Google Maps:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=jacksonville,+fl&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=49.223579,79.013672&ie=UTF8&ll=30.239827,-81.448388&spn=0.026435,0.038581&t=h&z=15&iwloc=A

Unfortunately, you can't say it's in the middle of the property anymore,  rather, it's along side the Pablo Creek golf course.  I doubt this runway is so valuable that it couldn't be cost effectively removed and/or converted to parking or an entry drive for a park, etc.

I will settle for a great state park if the feds don't think the land measures up.  However, I still think the land is worth setting aside for preservation as it's the only land block of that size close to the intracoastal in this area.  It's also easily accessible and in an area already maxed out for infrastructure, traffic, and water resources.

As per the below view, you can see it has lots of swamp and wetlands mixed in plus great frontage on the intracoastal. 

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=jacksonville,+fl&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=49.223579,79.013672&ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=30.165314,-81.44165&spn=0.211639,0.308647&z=12&iwloc=A

If we assume that all flat pine forested land is undistinguished, before you know it, we won't have any of it left.  Being that most of North Florida is like this, what examples will remain that are visible and accessible to most people?  With the eastern U.S. lacking the drama of western landscapes, this type of thinking is why we are lacking by far in the scale of our parks and preserved lands in this half of the country.  You don't need a Yosemite to create a great park.


« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 09:28:44 PM by stjr »
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

Ocklawaha

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2009, 09:43:58 PM »
I certainly agree that part if not all should be preserved. BTW, did you note south of the end of the runway, across the creek, appears to be a neighborhood that was removed... Odd. Maybe it's the other way around, but it looks like used land.

IDEA: I wouldn't move that airport or change a thing, also access via JTB or the Intercoastal would make this perhaps the only park in the State with 3 way access. I would follow Oklahoma's Que (Fantastic park system) and create a State resort or lodge. Canoes, fishing boats, golf, nature, camping, wilderness... Unreal opportunities. Be great to compensate them for the land if they were willing to meet us somewhere in the middle?

National Park Service is always looking for the unusual, outstanding, or incredible for their "collection". If they really had an interest in THE SOUTH, why weren't they in the Okefenokee and surrounding National Forests about 80 years ago? That is still nothing more then state land, preserve, etc...  Unusual? Yeah, did y'all know that the Okefenokee Swamp is thought to be the only Swamp in the World that rides crest of a continental divide? THE SWAMP IS ON TOP OF A HILL!
Let's see NPS beat that one. Heck, we could have a big entry between Jax and Lake City, and it would put Waycross and Valdosta back on the maps of the masses.

The only trouble with NPS today is the tree huggers (I'm talking only the extreme radicals) have made so much noise, and there is no longer a CCC that development like the Harvey/Santa Fe lodges or the Yosemite Valley Railroads, Yosemite Lodge, just aren't done today. Ditto for the cool rock walls, walks, pavilions, rustic shops, etc...

HEY! MAYBE WE COULD RUN THE SKYWAY OUT TO IT! Just Kidding!


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CS Foltz

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2009, 08:10:56 AM »
Interesting guy's! I did not know that strip was even there! It must be nice to have a private strip that close to the beach area............from the looks of it, almost thought there was a 9 hole golf course there. Park there would tie in nicely with the Timuquana Park for sure.

fsu813

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2009, 08:32:21 AM »
ok, so which one of you is gonna contact Mr. Davis?
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lindab

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2009, 08:43:27 AM »
The Okefenokee Swamp is a National Wildlife Refuge. It has be designated since the 1930s.

By the way, what do you think makes land a National Park or even a state park - just acres of trees and someone willing to sell to the government at the appraised rate?  Not by a long shot. And thanks for that snippy remark about tree huggers - they are some of the most active people in getting state and national parks designated.

buckethead

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2009, 08:56:33 AM »
I built a house for a tree hugger.

Styrofoam igloo type house. He was .... wait for it.....




















A lumber salesman.

Ocklawaha

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2009, 12:03:48 PM »
The Okefenokee Swamp is a National Wildlife Refuge. It has be designated since the 1930s.

By the way, what do you think makes land a National Park or even a state park - just acres of trees and someone willing to sell to the government at the appraised rate?  Not by a long shot. And thanks for that snippy remark about tree huggers - they are some of the most active people in getting state and national parks designated.

Your right about the Okefenokee, at least in part it is a refuge. The wilds of that swamp extend well into Florida, it's much bigger then a gator farm. My point is, if we want NATIONAL PARK land in this area, which WOULD increase tourism, I'd start with the swamp and the Ocala National Forest. Both large, and both very unique.

The snippy remark, if you'll go back and read it says the radical tree huggers. These are the guys that drive metal spikes into trees so when they are hit by a chainsaw, the logger gets injured or killed. It's like the "Animal Rights", issues, maybe we should call it, "plant rights" issues? Neither are granted rights in the Constitution, but I would certainly fight for them to be treated with kindness, and conservation.

The early NPS was able to take advantage of the CCC during the depression years to really make the NPS special. Today they are gone and we have people wanting to preserve these places but NOT allow any human access... To me that is just stupid. We are family, and we all share this land.


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reednavy

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2009, 12:30:24 PM »
We'll see another expressway plow through that in a few decades.
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Dog Walker

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Re: J.E. Davis National Park, Jacksonville's Best Idea?
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2009, 12:45:52 PM »
The "tree huggers" in this area are responsible for the Talbot Islands State Park, Guana State Park (The Duval Audubon Society led the way on these two) and the Timucuan Reserve, which takes in all of the marsh wetlands and rivers between the St. John's and Nassau Rivers as well as some of the uplands.  This latter was pushed by a coalition of local groups, Audubon, Sierra, Defenders of Wildlife, the Riverkeeper, et. al. who went to Charlie Bennett with the idea.

People who put spikes in trees and stop building of facilities within our National Parks are not tree huggers, radical or otherwise.  They are self-haters and by extension haters of all humans.  They have exactly the same psychological motivations as fundamentalist religious fanatics, just in a slightly different flavor.
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