The long-realized dream of creating the Gordon River Greenway is a shining example of how much our community values and appreciates its natural resources and the importance placed on conservation.
This “emerald necklace” connects the Greenway, Naples Zoo and the Conservancy Nature Center. This Green District in the heart of Naples allows residents and visitors to experience and appreciate our natural environment.
We see this as a great opportunity to continue to enhance the connection between our community and environment.
In addition to walkers, joggers and cyclists, the Green District now attracts birders, nature photographers and those seeking new trails to explore. The realization of this 2-mile stretch, accessible to the public, includes 180 acres of conservation lands can be credited to the vision and collaboration of many dedicated individuals and organizations.
Conservancy of Southwest Florida operated as an advocate for the Greenway and now the Green District - connecting the partners we have worked closely with since 2004, including the City of Naples, Collier County, Southwest Florida Land Preservation Trust, Naples Zoo and Naples Airport Authority.
The project started in 2004. Conservancy staff, donors and volunteers educated Collier County voters on benefits of a bond referendum for up to $40 million to purchase 157 acres of land owned by the Fleischmann family. This included land under the Naples Zoo, and upland and wetland habitats along the Gordon River. Then Conservancy President Kathy Prosser chaired the Blue Ribbon Panel, which was tasked with creating conceptual land plans and identifying funding to supplement the $40 million.
The land purchase was approved with an overwhelming 73 percent of voters endorsing the purchase, and the Gordon River Greenway transformed from concept to reality. The Trust for Public Lands was initial purchaser, and Collier County bought the most environmentally sensitive lands, with the balance sold to private entities, including the Conservancy. Our acquisition of eight acres of Fleischmann land with two key donors’ support made possible the Conservancy Nature Center’s Christopher B. Smith Preserve and a new entrance to the Conservancy - Smith Preserve Way.
Even well before the purchase of the Fleischmann property, the Conservancy was involved in protecting the Gordon River ecosystem. In 2003, a settlement between Conservancy and Collier Enterprises/Collier Development Corp. over mangrove impacts of developing the Hamilton Harbor Marina led to 55 acres becoming part of the Conservation Collier Gordon River Greenway Preserve.
Our involvement highlights how conservation organizations can complement government efforts to promote land-use planning and conservation to preserve Southwest Florida’s exceptional natural resources for generations to come.
Paddle down the Gordon River and discover the hidden treasures of this brackish water habitat, which provides a perfect sanctuary for many native Florida species.
All aboard from the Allyn Family Dock! Take a leisurely, informative and fun 45-minute cruise along the beautiful Gordon River.
Take a guided tour of the Gordon River aboard one of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s famous electric boats and stop for lunch at Wahoo's River Bar and Grill!
1495 Smith Preserve Way Naples, Florida 34102
Monday - Sunday 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (ET)
239-262-0304 phone 239-262-0672 fax
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