From the St. John’s River Water Management District

If you’re looking for a quick get-a-way for spring break but don’t want to break the bank, then lands owned by the St. Johns River Water Management District offer the perfect one-tank stay-cation.

“These lands — more than 700,000 acres — have been brought into public ownership to help us carry out our core missions to protect water resources,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Wherever possible, we’ve opened these lands for the public’s enjoyment.”

Across its 18-county service area, the district is lead manager on more than 40 properties that are open to the public for free. Stretching from the Florida-Georgia state line, south to Indian River County, these are diverse properties. Visitors will see such natural communities as marshes at the headwaters of the St. Johns River, pine and hardwood forests, and natural seepage ravines, as well as a wide variety of wildlife.

These lands provide nature-based activities such as hiking, bicycling, wildlife viewing, geocaching, picnicking and water-based activities such as kayaking. For the more adventurous visitor, consider an overnight stay at one of the primitive camping sites, where you can pitch a tent, cook a meal over a campfire ring and watch the stars come out in the evening sky. Visitors will want to make sure to carry in all their drinking water, insect repellent, and other supplies, and carry out all trash.

Visit the district’s website at www.sjrwmd.com/lands/recreation for individual property descriptions and maps, trail guides, driving directions and a list of activities for each property.

About the St. Johns River Water Management District

St. Johns River Water Management District staff are committed to ensuring the sustainable use and protection of water resources for the benefit of the people of the district and the state of Florida. The St. Johns River Water Management District is one of five districts in Florida managing groundwater and surface water supplies in the state. The district encompasses all or part of 18 northeast and east-central Florida counties. District headquarters are in Palatka, and staff also are available to serve the public at service centers in Maitland, Jacksonville, and Palm Bay.

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