Summer Haven is one of the most unique, outstandingly beautiful areas on the east coast of Florida. The Summer Haven River, a natural, thriving and historic waterway, has ceased to flow due to the sand infiltration that came in from a significant breach at Old A1A, which occurred after three sequential tropical storms in 2008.
This process has closed the area to sport fishing, commercial oystering, kayaking and boating. In the past, sea turtles, dolphins, manatees, and many species of fish frequently traveled and foraged in the River. The oysters and the habitats they provide are dying, along with the spawning ground for many species of fish and protective habitat for young turtles.
We believe the lack of flow in the River is contributing to the shoaling in the Matanzas Inlet. The Summer Haven River has recreational, economic, historic and environmental value to the citizens of and visitors to St. Johns County.
Our goal is for the sand to be removed from the River and placed back on the beach. The dunes should be reinforced and vegetated. There should be a permitted plan in place to immediately solve any future emergency conditions.
We Believe: The Summer Haven River is used by citizens from all over St. Johns County and surrounding counties and that it should be restored. The River provided 2.3 miles of public access. Helen Mellon Schmidt Park on the north River provides boat and kayak launching and access to Matanzas Inlet. Kayak and fishing guides once used the River on a daily basis. The historic homes of the Summer Haven, built to face the River, are the oldest beach houses on State record, dating back to the 1890s. The River provided estuarine habitat for many species of fish and wildlife, and the dune barrier provided storm protection for Highway A1A, an evacuation route.