In the Loop February 2019


Welcome to the February In the Loop Newsletter from the St Johns River-to-Sea Loop Alliance. We have a lot of exciting news to report, and two upcoming events to announce.

If you missed our Holiday Newsletter with all the great trail opening announcements and other information about where to ride now, please read it here
December, 2018 In the Loop 


March Events 

Visit our website




Visit our website

Two major events in March 


March 1: River-to-Sea Loop Stakeholders' Workshop

Are you working to help fulfill the promise of the Loop?  Or are you interested in learning how to help?  

If so, you are invited to participate the River-to-Sea Stakeholder Workshop at DeBary Hall.  The event is hosted by the St Johns River-to-Sea Loop Alliance in partnership with Volusia County. Registration is required to attend so please visit our website. 

Draft Agenda 

DeBary Hall Theater

 8:30  Coffee, check-in & viewing maps

9:00 Welcome & Introductions

9:30 10-minute county briefings on trail plans, status, issues

10:20 FDOT Update

10:35 Break

10:45 OGT Update & Trail Town Program

11:00 Panel Completing the Loop  

11:45 Contractors' Panel  – “Safe, Separate, Scenic, buildable, maintainable”

12:15 Lunch in “the Barn”   

1:00 Panel: Maps, signs, and wayfinding – conventions, consistency and collaboration

1:30 Panel:  Economic, wellness, safety & Community Benefits, Promotion & Usage of the Loop (Rides, Activities & Events)

2:00 Panel – Funding and sustaining the Loop:    Cost, Benefits, Funding, Grants, Champions, cross-county/cross-organization collaboration

2:45 – 3:00  Action Items, Action Plans, and Closing 

You must register to attend. Registration is free to government stakeholders and anyone actively contributing to the Loop. Guests are requested to make a $25 donation to the Alliance that will help cover the cost of refreshments and lunch.  Lunch will be provided only for preregistered attendees.

If you have not already registered please visit our website.


Visit our website




March 16: "Spring into Spring" Ride


Join the St Johns River-to-Sea Loop Alliance for a special scenic ride that includes 3 of the beautiful springs on the St Johns River-to-Sea Loop.  Not a race - a fun,family-oriented ride with prizes & special activities. 

Rain Date March 23, 2019

Riders will meet at Lake Beresford Park.   

There are options for varying lengths from 8 to 50 miles.  All options include refreshments, games, fun and prizes at Blue Spring State Park.  Longer rides extend to Gemini Springs Park, Green Spring Park, and the current trail end at Guise Road east of Osteen. This is an all-trail ride except for a 4-mile interim route in DeBary on mostly backroads with a stop-light crossing of Highway 17 at Benson Junction.  Children under 12 ride free but must stay on the paved trail.  

Pre-registration is required. 

These times are preliminary and subject to change - final times will be emailed near the time of the ride.

9:00 Check-in starts at Lake Beresford Park Pavilion near underpass  

9:30  50-mile riders to Guise Road depart

10:00  35-mile riders to Green Spring depart

10:15 25-mile riders to Gemini Springs depart

10:30 8-mile riders to Blue Spring depart

12:00  Refreshments and games at Blue Spring State Park will commence

1:30    Prizes awarded

2:00   Return to Lake Beresford Park    



If you have not already registered please visit our website.


Visit our website



Thanks to our sponsors and partners





Sponsors and Partners Needed

The Alliance needs sponsors to survive and continue our work.  Sponsorships and donations are the only means we have help cover expenses and allow us to sustain our efforts to advance, advocate, support, promote and protect the River to Sea Loop and its corridor.   The Alliance can help towns and businesses and other groups in the Loop Corridor by recognition and exposure especially on social media. Titusville is the model town for partnering and for achieving true Trail Town status. The sign we are placing on the River2Sea Nature and History Corridor is just one example.  The Alliance has no paid staff – we are all volunteers.  Your donation or sponsorship can help us fulfill our mission.   To learn more about sponsorship opportunities please visit our website.




More News From Around the Loop

Winter into spring is the busiest time around the River-to-Sea Loop and this year more than ever!  December saw two important trail openings:

  • The closing of the “DeBary to Blue Spring Critical Gap” - now cyclists and pedestrians can safely connect from the south part of the Loop at DeBary and points east to the north part of the Loop at Orange City and points north, without hazarding dreaded Highway 17/92.  It also enables connection to the Coast to Coast heading south from DeBary on its long journey to St Petersburg.   This was a hard-won victory  that required DOT and the county agreeing to divide a segment, allowing critical parts to proceed while the rest stalled out due to ROW issues.  We celebrated the opening with a ride to Blue Spring and a Ribbon Cutting.

  • The closing of the Hastings Gap on the Palatka to St Augustine Section - now cyclists can ride all the way from Vermont Heights near I95 to Palatka and from there connect to the extensive Putnam County trail network. 

Add these openings to the large new section in Southwest Volusia that connects Edgewater to Titusville and Farmton and there now are many places around the Loop suitable for extended rides and multi-day adventures.  It’s all about the connections!

In January the Alliance journeyed to Ocala for the designation of two new Trail Towns in the Loop:  Palatka and Deltona.  Both towns sent large contingents of faithful and enthusiastic cheerleaders.  

Also in January we were invited to spread the word about the Loop at the Blue Spring State Park Manatee Festival. 

February included major work on the River2Sea Loop Nature & History Corridor with a sign to be placed in Deltona partly supported by a grant from REI, as well as website upgrades, and spreading the word about the Loop at the WildLife Festival in DeLand.  Somehow in the rush we found time to venture out of the Loop to ride sections of the Coast to Coast including Winter Garden, Clermont and the new Good Neighbor Trail to Brooksville!  

March is our busiest month with the River to Sea Loop Stakeholders Workshop on March 1.  Loop contributors from around the state gather at DeBary Hall Historic Site to find solutions to challenges and to help fulfill the promise of the Loop.  The Loop is now 43% complete! 

On March 16 the Alliance presents our first major ride – the Spring into Spring Ride. It begins at Deland’s Lake Beresford Park with rides of varying lengths from 8 miles (to Blue Spring State Park) to 50 miles to the end of the completed segment east of Osteen.  The rides beyond the new DeBary section have a 3-mile stretch on back roads before rejoining the Loop at Dirksen Road to continue the all-trail route to explore our beautiful county parks and springs, including Gemini Springs, Green Springs, Thornby Park, and Lake Monroe Park.  Riders converge at Blue Spring State Park for refreshments, fun, games, and prizes.  Children under 12 ride free.  Riders can register on the website at

April 6 will see a ride and ribbon cutting on the newly complete Palatka to St Augustine Segment hosted by VeloFest. 
As a small all-volunteer organization, we’ve learned we can’t move mountains alone - no matter how hard we push – and we can’t lose mission focus. Our most exciting and rewarding achievement has been strengthening partnerships.  The Alliance has strengthened relationships with Volusia and Brevard Counties, with Blue Spring and other State Parks, with Titusville, Deltona, Enterprise, DeBary, and many cities around the Loop, with other nonprofits, and with the Scenic Highway Program by serving on the board of the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor and supporting the A1A Scenic Highway Spoonbills and Sprockets Ride. We’ve improved relationships with sponsors and in-kind supporters.  All matter, all help budge the mountain and move on our mission to advance, advocate, support, promote and protect the River to Sea Loop and its corridor and connecting trails.  We always welcome advisors, volunteers and anyone interested in working with us.   We can be reached at or 




Happenings on the North Loop

Kayaking at St Paul's Episcopal Church at Federal Point 

On March 30 St Paul's welcomes groups of peddlers to ride from our to St. Paul's Episcopal Church at Federal Point. There will also be paddlers leaving from Stanton Landing at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at Federal Point on a round trip paddle of a portion of the St. Johns River and on into Deep Creek.  Upon everyone's return, we'll hold a dedication ceremony for Stanton Landing as a newly designated trail head for:
1.      St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop
2.      Bartram Trail In Putnam County National Recreation Trail
3.      Putnam County Blueway Paddling Trails
4.      St. Johns River Blueway
5.      Palatka-to St. Augustine State Trail  
All groups will need to return to Stanton Landing by 11:30am for a brief dedication ceremony hosted by our church and representatives from Putnam County Waterways and Trails.  This will be followed by a BBQ lunch hosted by the Putnam County Board of County Commissioners and the Stanton Family. We will have the Putnam County Sheriff's Patrol Cars and Marine unit on hand for safety.  If anyone is interested in arriving the day before and camping overnight they're welcome to do so!
While this event is free of charge we will accept donations.  More information from Rhonda Masters <>   386-983-1659


181 School Road
East Palatka, FL 32131
Kyle Whyard, Assistant Manager, Ecotourism / Educational Programs 904-874-0076
Jean-Sebastien Gros, Program Director  954-684-0855
Marineland Aquaponics at Deep Creek is a new name assigned to Anguilla Fish Farm, one of Florida’s largest and oldest aquaculture projects.  This is a story of rebirth. One of Florida’s pioneer fish farms who produced the highest quality striped bass in the country for 30 years, got hit by two natural disasters and teamed up with aquaculture and hydroponic experts at MARINELAND to rebuild with resiliency a RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture System).  The project’s mission is to serve as a model for sustainable aquaculture and aquaponic food production for the local market and others around the world.
Aquaponics is a method of food production which combines the best aspects of aquaculture and hydroponics to create a highly productive living ecosystem for sustainable agriculture. By cultivating fish and plants in a recirculating system, fish waste can be converted to plant food using natural bacterial cycles. Organic Aquaponics seeks to utilize cutting-edge techniques to grow organic vegetables for our community, educate others about aquaponics potential, and demonstrate the sustainable nature of our food production.
The project is located in Putnam County, FL on a 30+ acre parcel at 181 School Rd in East Palatka - latitude 29.755134, longitude 81.530952.  Placed on the historic Federal Point peninsula adjacent to the St Johns River, it is in the heart of America’s original farm-to-fork agricultural corridor established by Spanish settlers in 1565.  Multigenerational family farms, hardwood hammocks, and the Deep Creek conservation area immediately surround the property and inspired our DEEP CREEK Eco-tourism initiative.

SEA Community

The Alliance was able to donate a child's bicycle to the SEA (Spuds, Elkton, Armstrong) Community to jump start their bike-share program and get more kids out on the Loop.  

Bartram Inn

I got a chance to spend the night at the Bartram Inn.  Comfortable sleeping and elegant breakfast!  The Inn is easily accessible from the Loop and host Linda Crider is a wealth of information about cycling and kayaking in Putnam County.  Highly recommended.  


Thank you for reading.

We hope to see you at the  Stakeholder Workshop or the Spring into Spring Ride.  If you have information, photos, announcement or article you would like to see  "In the Loop"  send it it



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