National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interior
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Timucuan Trail State and National Parks

Description: In January 1999, the City of Jacksonville announced a plan to acquire 10 to 20 square miles of environmentally sensitive lands within its corporate boundaries. The announcement of the plan coincided with an effort by local National Park Service officials to establish a partnership to support the existing parks and preserves within Jacksonville, Florida. Four years later, the city and the National Park Service, with other land acquisition agencies, have spent $131 million acquiring nearly 40,000 acres and creating one of the largest urban park systems in the nation.

The National Park Service, the city and the State of Florida, formed a partnership called the Timucuan Trail State and National Parks, which cooperatively markets, manages and supports a park area that covers nearly 12 percent of the city. As part of the agreement, the partners participate in the development of access and management plans, regardless of ownership.

The partnership will likely grow to include agencies and non-profits that have significant land ownerships near or within the national park boundaries. Those groups include The Nature Conservancy, the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Florida Bureau of Coastal Aquatic and Managed Areas.

Geographic area covered: Jacksonville, Florida is the largest city in the continental United States. The partnership area encompasses approximately 100 square miles, from the far north end of the city to the Atlantic Ocean and the St. Johns River in the southeast.

List of Partners and Relationships: The following parks, preserves and facilities are located within the partnership area:

  • Kingsley Plantation - National Park Service
  • Ribault Clubhouse - Florida Park Service (State)
  • Ft. George State Cultural Park - State
  • Ft. Caroline National Memorial - NPS
  • Huguenot Memorial Park - City of Jacksonville (City)
  • Rollins Bird Sanctuary - State
  • Big Talbot Island State Park - State
  • Little Talbot Island State Park - State
  • Theodore Roosevelt Preserve - NPS
  • Sisters Creek Marina - City
  • Betz Tiger Point Preserve - City
  • Cedar Point Preserve - NPS/City
  • Thomas Creek Preserve - City
  • Hanna Park - City
  • Broward Islands - NPS
  • Alamicani Island - City
  • Bird Island - City

Accomplishments to date:

  1. The city has matched 2 to 1 the NPS land acquisition funds spent on the Timucuan Trail. In many cases, the city has contributed directly to NPS land purchases without retaining a title interest.
  2. NPS, the city and the state all participated in renovating a 1928 clubhouse on Ft. George Island known as the Ribault Clubhouse. The state, which owns the clubhouse and coordinated the renovation, contributed $2.3 million to the project. The city also contributed $1 million. NPS contributed the new exhibits in the clubhouse visitor center at a cost of $500,000. Staffs of all three partners will participate in the staffing of the clubhouse.
  3. The city contributed $100,000 to the construction of river taxi facilities at two NPS facilities at a total cost of $660,000.
  4. NPS, the state and the city have designed and will construct a bike trail on state property. The $2.5 million project will be paid for by the city through a federal Department of Transportation appropriation.
  5. Each agency participates in formal reviews of each management plan within the Timucuan Trail.
  6. Recognizing the need for private sector support of the cooperative park area, the three agencies are working together to establish a new non-profit to help raise private funds for marketing, capital improvements and research.

Key success factors:

  1. Visionary leadership.
  2. The recognition that no one agency could accomplish its goals without the assistance of partners.
  3. Time spent building individual relationships amongst partners.
  4. The recognition that all partners are equals - no bureaucratic egos are allowed.

Frustrations: Very few. The working relationship among the local partners has been very effective. The biggest challenge was agreeing to a name for the partnership.

Most important lessons learned to date:

  1. Patience. It takes time to understand the needs and concerns of each partner. But once understood, internal barriers at each agency can be overcome. In addition, the Timucuan Trail started with just three partners. Had we started with more, it may have taken a lot longer to overcome agency barriers. As a result, we accomplished a lot in a very short amount of time.
  2. Partnerships are really about individual relationships. They are about people, and the people have to bond. We began our relationship with a 10-day trip to visit other national parks heavily involved with partnerships. This trip bonded us as individuals and resulted in a common mission. As individuals moved on and were replaced, we spent time building the personal relationship with the new person to ensure the continuation of the partnership.

What would you do differently next time:The Timucuan Trail partnership is unique in so many aspects that it is difficult to say what should have been done differently. Joint marketing is a critical factor that we haven't fully developed. This should perhaps have been made a higher priority.

Suggested resource materials(related to the case study): The partnership agreement. Preservation Project Jacksonville news stories: See and search for "Preservation Project."

For more information:

Name: Barbara Goodman
Affiliation: Superintendent, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
Phone/Fax: 904-221-5568

Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)

Fundraising _X_; Capital Improvements _X_; Facility Management _X_; Trails _X_; Design __; Program Delivery __; Visitor Services _X_; Tenant Organizations __, Concessioners __; Natural Resources Management/Restoration _X_; Cultural Resources _X_; Education/Interpretation _X_; Arts __; Information Services _X_; Transportation _X_; Mutual Aid __; Fire Management __; Planning _X_; Tourism _X_; Community Relations __;

Other ____________________________

Prepared by: Barbara Goodman Date posted: 10/9/03
Phone: 904-221-5568

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