Not many cities can boast the diversity in ecology that can be found the Jacksonville, Florida metropolis. I have had the pleasure of working in the downtown area for several week over the last several years and did not notice until recently. My recent experience has shown me a very different side of a wonderfully diverse city. If you love nature and love city living you would not go wrong considering Jacksonville.
The shear area of the city is without comparison and borders on sprawl with all its negative connotation. However, the city is redeemed by its access to the Atlantic and the surrounding marshes. The creative restoration and preservation of wildlife habitats along with the rescue and re-purposing of old railroad tracts has created a large, diverse and intricate network of trails. The accessibility provided is wonderful and shows what can be done when thought and energy is applied to the ecology we are blessed with.
On my last visit I ran several trails and had the opportunity to watch the sunset over the wonderful marshes. Never did I pay for access, but would have gladly. The paths were well-marked and maintained. From downtown to densely wooded areas was an easy drive, with most within 20-30 mile of downtown. The accessibility allowed me to work a full day and still make it out to enjoy nature before the sun went down. I took the opportunity and explored some of best trails.
If you are a runner and enjoy the natural environment you would love visiting the Jacksonville area. I suggest you take that trip sooner than later and enjoy what Jacksonville has to offer.
I did not get to all the trails that I planned to, but there is always next time. What are you waiting on?
See some of my pictures. https://flic.kr/s/aHsjYa1Sag