Tree Lovers Paradise

Posted by: Rick Pariani in Uncategorized

cross treeEarly on in the design and construction of World Golf Village, a series of out-of-town entertainment consultants were invited to “critique” our place and offer suggestions.  One of my favorite criticisms was that the place “was too green”.  I laughed at that and took it as validation that we were building an endearing and lasting landscape; one that was naturally inspired and would define our environment.  Through the years, I have nurtured and watched our landscape grow.  Today, our choice to feature our signature tree, the Southern Live Oak, throughout the grounds of World Golf Village is proving to be a great decision.
For me, my love affair with the Southern Live Oak began during my first family visit to Jekyll Island, Georgia in 1968.  Walking amongst the giant, moss-draped, old trees was ethereal.  The experience was imprinted in my mind, drawing me back to the Georgia Coast for the next 14 years.  Upon college graduation, I moved to the Coast and worked to preserve its beauty through the administration of Georgia’s Coastal Marshlands Protection Act of 1970 and the Shore Assistance Act of 1979.  For a year, I mapped 4,600 acres of the Georgia Coast for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s National Wetland Inventory.  I was privileged to have countless helicopter fly-overs for photography and surveillance.  I gained access to every one of the major barrier islands.  I was able to stomp around everywhere, even deep into the remote hammock islands of the great Altamaha swamp, to find native Indian pottery shards lying uncovered on the ground.  My immersion into the wilds, the marshes, islands and pristine beaches was thorough and complete.
Living here in St. Johns County has many rewards, chief among them is the proximity to one of the world’s greatest natural environments – the Barrier Island Ecosystem.  The chain of east coast salt marshes and barrier islands extends into South Carolina and stretches into north Florida, but its heart is pinned to Georgia, between Savannah and St. Marys, Tybee Island on the north and Cumberland Island on the south.  It is a rich region with a bold history woven into an intriguing environment.
One of my favorite weekend jaunts is to day-trip on Cumberland Island National Seashore.  Just an hour away, it is easy and relaxing to take the Park Service ferry over to the island for a half-day or full-day trip.  Without question, it is one of the very best experiences to share with your family, friends and visitors.  The Maritime Forest on Cumberland is one of the best places on earth to witness the majesty and power of the Southern Live Oak, flourishing in its native habitat.  Some of the Live Oak trees around the Dungeness ruins, the Greyfield Inn and at Plum Orchard are simply magical in the way they command their territory.  They define the land and will paint enduring pictures in your mind.


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