Getting to know the greenway in Georgia and Florida

by Dennis Markatos-Soriano

After biking and hiking along our East Coast Greenway route in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, DC, and North Carolina – I’m glad to now be getting down to explore far southern sections in Florida. Over the next several days, I will be biking with over 15 East Coast Greenway Alliance volunteers and donors along the St. Johns River to Sea Loop from Palatka to St. Augustine’s to Titusville then back up.

I’m excited to see the natural beauty of the area, and am delighted to enjoy the warmer weather while frosts and crisp days begin to hit my home base in Manhattan. Here at the hotel, I’m looking out across the St. Johns River this evening at the palm trees – dressed in my shorts and a t-shirt.

After an energizing weekend in Savannah where our organization designated 41 new miles of trail, I’m excited to enjoy a well-developed stretch along our route that is becoming a tourist destination and a boon to the local economy here in northern Florida.

My old college car (a 1990 Toyota Camry with 233,000 miles) was gracious enough to cooperate with the trip from Savannah to Palatka. It brought ECGA board member Beth Brody, her sister Bea Rago, and myself to the beginning of a 260-mile bike ride throughout this region. We enjoyed some delicious southern seafood this evening – fuel for the 20-50 mile bicycle rides in the days to come. I’m still reachable on email and the phone in the evenings but not as much during the day.

One potential complication in our week is the path of Hurricane Ida. As long as it weakens to a Tropical Depression as predicted, our trip shouldn’t be too derailed mid-week. I’m just glad to get the opportunity to meet more great partners on the East Coast Greenway team, rain or shine.

For updates on this trip and the other great ECGA progress to report, come back to the blog again soon.

Onwards to greenway progress,



Leave a Comment
  1. Cathy Markatos says:

    I hope you can schedule your biking around the
    weather problems Hurricane Ida may create. You travelers are important to the rest of the Greenway members! That does sound like a lovely ride to make in good weather.

  2. Benny Rambo says:

    It’s great to see the new ECG director out riding the route!
    I noticed you mentioned a new 41 mile section of trail in the Savannah area and I was wondering how I can get the directions for it. The latest cue sheets on the website for that area were updated Dec 2007?

    Thanks. Keep up the good work spreading the word about the ECG.

  3. dennism says:

    Thanks, Benny!

    I had such a wonderful time exploring parts of our southern route. I recommend the stretch along St Johns River in northern Florida to all cyclists interested in exploring this lovely section full of palm and live oak trees and osprey and egrets. Bike Florida did a great job leading our tour – and it’s only gonna get better as more miles of greenway and bike lanes are built.

    The 41 miles I mentioned are actually the newly constructed miles from Maine to Florida (from the last 6 months). Over 30 of the miles are the new section of Down East Sunrise Trail in Maine – and other pieces are in MA, VA, and elsewhere. Next year our greenway construction will accelerate and hopefully the Savannah section will continue to improve for the local residents and visitors alike.

    Together, we can complete a safe and accessible greenway in the years ahead!


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