Up The River

One of the unique features of Jacksonville is that it is truly a River City.  The St. Johns River runs all through it.  The entire downtown is built around it and there are seven major bridges that go across it, connecting the different areas of the city.  I love the river.  It's amazing.  And beautiful.  It is the backdrop for so much that goes on in Jacksonville.  I think it's one of the best features of the city, and believe me, I think there are many.  One of the coolest facts about the river is that it runs south to north, unlike most rivers which run north to south.  I don't know why it does, but that definitely makes it different.

But like most rivers that run through major cities, the river is in trouble from years of neglect.  That is changing, thanks to the efforts of folks like the St. Johns Riverkeeper. Their mission is to work on behalf of the community for clean and healthy waters in the St. Johns River, its tributaries and its wetlands, through citizen-based advocacy. And they do a heckuva job. Because of their efforts and so many more people in Jax, the condition of the river is improving.

This past Saturday morning, some folks from JumpingFish put on the Up The River Downtown event, which was a 10K on the river community event for swimming and paddling. JumpingFish advocates for the river through athletics. These intrepid swimmers swam almost ten miles in the river, accompanied by a flotilla of kayaks, paddleboards and even two Jacksonville Dragon Boats . They began at Jacksonville University and ended their swim at the Riverside Arts Market.  Through their efforts and sponsorships, they not only brought attention to the plight of the river, they also brought support to some area Special Olympic swimmers which will help them be able to compete. It was a totally fun event and so much fun to be a part of.

And here are some of the pix of the day....


The one thing that I should mention is that more swimmers were scheduled to make the swim, but the river is experiencing an algae bloom right now, and for some folks, it created a health risk to take part.  Yes, that's one of the reasons we need to take care of the river.  So we don't have things like this...


All in all, it was a great event, and I think they did a wonderful job.  If you'd like to see more pix, click on over to the website. I'm sure these fine folks will be doing much more to advocate for the health of our river, and I intend to be there. Hope you will be too.