Naples from Past to Present

by Catherine Faerber,
Executive Director NPC

Naples is known for its small town feel, beautiful weather, beaches, dining and shopping. It is no wonder thousands of visitors flock here each year to experience paradise firsthand. It is hard to believe that Naples was known as a fishing  destination during its humble beginnings and only accessible by boat and trails on land to get around.

Naples gained notoriety after being featured in the Louisville Courier Journal prompted by the newspaper’s owner and founder of Naples, Walter Haldeman. Change was inevitable when railroads and later automobiles began making their way to Southwest Florida. Fast forward to 2020, access to Naples is provided via interstate, paved
streets, sidewalks, bike lanes everywhere you look but the paths between fish camps and the beach are long gone. Don’t let modern infrastructure get you down.

There are opportunities to get you out and go for a walk, run or ride a bike on the sidewalks, bike paths and now off-road pathways here in Collier County. Walking and running are considered by many to be one of the most enjoyable exercises as it doesn’t require equipment, only the will to do it. They all have positive benefits for your health, and can be performed solo, with a group of people or with your pet.

Naples now has a few new options to explore while you exercise with the completion of the Gordon River Greenway southernmost section. The new Blair Trail takes you through a wooded corridor between North Road and the Naples Airport connecting paved pathways, boardwalks and bridges crisscrossing the Gordon River to the north and Baker Park to the West. All of this with only one well protected road crossing.

Baker Park’s 15 acres has been landscaped with predominantly native Florida plants and trees and health minded amenities sprinkled throughout. October’s dedication opened the remaining areas of the park offering outdoor fitness facilities, dedicated bike path (with a bike repair station) and walking and running paths to list a few.

Naples now has a taste of what other areas in the country have been experiencing for some time, off-road pathways that provides safe areas to recreate and options for transportation without motorized vehicles right in the middle of town.

NPC encourages you to visit these great areas throughout Collier County and check out the pathways:
∙ Freedom Park
∙ Clam Pass Boardwalk
∙ Livingston Regional County Park
∙ Donna Fiala Eagle Lake Community Park
∙ Rich King Memorial Greenway

Winter is here but we are in the midst of perfect weather, Naples Pathways Coalition encourages you to get up, throw on your walking or running shoes or take that bike off the hook in the garage and enjoy the pathways Naples has to offer. Once you have experienced these wonderful off-road trails, their health benefits in a safe environment it becomes apparent the importance they have in our community. Naples Pathways Coalition’s current projects are
fast tracking the development of the 70 mile Paradise Coast Trail and working closely with the city for wider sidewalks and buffered bike lanes on Gulf Shore Boulevard South.

Become an NPC member, let your voice be heard and help us accomplish these goals.

Visit us at or email Executive Director Catherine Faerber at

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