MARATHON, Fla. (Edited Press Release/KY3) – Johnny Morris unveiled plans to develop the seaside Valhalla Island Resort in the Florida Keys.
Valhalla Island is the largest resort facility anywhere in the Florida Keys. It encompasses over 175 acres and over a mile of breathtaking beachfront property located just 15 minutes from Marathon International Airport, a two hour drive from Miami and just over an hour from Key West. Plans for the resort include maintenance of more than 50% of the property’s greenery.
His passion for fishing and great respect for the Historic Long Key Fishing Camp served as Johnny Morris’ main inspiration for the development of Valhalla Island Resort.
Morris has been assembling Valhalla Island for over 30 years. Much of Johnny’s inspiration for developing the resort came from the legendary Long Key fishing camp. Long Key Fishing Camp, founded in 1908 by Henry Flagler, was largely responsible for establishing the Florida Keys as a front-runner in the sport fishing landscape. Visited by US presidents, A-listers from Hollywood’s Golden Age, Ernest Hemingway, Zane Gray and many others, Long Key Fishing Camp opened the world’s eyes to the beautiful tropical paradise that is the Florida Keys. The heritage and history of this very special place is the inspiration behind Valhalla Island Resort.
Like its legendary predecessor, Valhalla Island Resort, with deep water access, a full-service marina and beautifully appointed accommodations, makes available the unique combination of world-class inshore and offshore fishing opportunities that await in the Florida Keys. Located just minutes from the deep blue waters of the Gulf Stream and adjacent to premier Florida Bay fishing, Valhalla Island Resort is located at Ground Zero and offers some of the best sailfish, swordfish, tarpon, bonefish, permit and snook. in the world. Given the island’s beautiful setting, it’s fitting that Valhalla translates as ‘fisherman’s heaven’.
In early spring, schools of giant albacore migrate through these waters. Anglers here can experience double-digit days of sailfish most of the year. In terms of numbers and size, the Keys are recognized worldwide as one of the best places to hunt swordfish. Trophy Mahi Mahi are plentiful in the spring and summer months. Tarpon, bonefish and permit inhabit the backwaters of Florida Bay in numbers and sizes unmatched anywhere else in the United States.
The Valhalla Island Resort is the latest addition to Johnny’s ongoing commitment to support the sport fishing community of the Florida Keys and support the region’s tourism industry. Located just 25 miles southwest of World Wide Sportsman – a Bass Pro Shops saltwater store – in Islamorada, the resort is the latest in a series of investments by Morris’ and Bass Pro Shops to strengthen sport fishing, conservation and nature-based tourism in Keys. and the state of Florida.
A celebration of the fishing heritage of the Keys
Set in a remarkably unique island setting, the project is an extension of the Johnny Morris Signature Nature Resort experiences that help families connect with nature and each other. Natural beauty, quality craftsmanship, attention to detail and respect for the land are hallmarks of every project Johnny pursues.
To bring their vision to life, Morris and his daughter Megan teamed up with leading architectural firms Hart Howerton and Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects. Plans for the 110-unit nature resort utilizing environmentally sensitive design techniques and working with the natural ecology of the Florida Keys call for an intimate setting that retains 50 percent greenery. Valhalla Island Resort will be vehicle free. All surfaces will be permeable.
Resort accommodation consists of a collection of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom cottages, in addition to the main lodge and general store, all of which are set in lush tropical landscapes and expansive beaches shaded by hundreds of palm trees. Other amenities include restaurants, spas, swimming pools, a fishing harbor and spaces for people to gather and connect with nature.
A new model of sustainability: A commitment to protect the community and support fisheries
Previously approved by the City of Marathon, the project is designed to be carbon neutral with a minimal footprint and low impact to preserve the natural integrity of the land while utilizing the latest sustainable strategies.
Conservation-based practices influence all aspects of the resort’s design and operation to enhance the natural ecosystem. State-of-the-art sustainable design techniques will be used, including on-site renewable energy through solar and geothermal, rainwater capture and storage, and building orientation to improve natural ventilation.
Morris and his team work closely with conservation partners and local community leaders to ensure that the resort not only meets but enhances the existing character of the community.
In addition to the resort itself, plans call for extensive transformation of nearby hotel properties acquired by Morris into fully renovated apartment buildings to comfortably accommodate the workforce, with a shuttle service reducing any potential congestion.
The team works with local conservation officials to ensure the features enhance native habitat and wildlife. Key partners and agencies include the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, South Florida Water Management District, US Fish and Wildlife Service, South Atlantic-Gulf Unified Region and Audubon Florida. Conservation leaders to celebrate Valhalla’s announcement included Eric Eikenburg, CEO of the Florida Everglades Foundation, environmental consultant Dr. Phil Frank and scientist Rowena Garcia and Allison Delashmit, director of regional operations for the Mote Marine Laboratory Coral Research Facility, and the community. officials from Marathon and the entire region.
Holder of the highest award for nature protection
Johnny Morris is an avid fisherman who has spent a lot of time in the Keys. The Morris World Wide Sportsman flagship in Islamorada – which includes a world-class marina, retail location and restaurant – is a globally recognized sports fishing landmark. Morris’ longtime support of Florida Keys fisheries conservation has resulted in his 2022 induction into the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s prestigious Ring of Honor. In 2019, the National Audubon Society recognized Morris’ conservation leadership by awarding him its highest honor, the Audubon Medal. These honors underscore Johnny’s reputation and lifetime of work in the conservation community.
For decades, Bass Pro Shops has made significant investments in conservation throughout Florida. These include investments in the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay – working with our customers to ensure resources are well managed today and into the future. However, the company’s impact on conservation extends beyond the borders of the state of Florida. Working with more than 60 national conservation organizations, Bass Pro Shops is creating partnerships to move the needle on some of the most important issues facing our country.
Supporting the tourism industry in Florida
In addition to the state’s decades-long commitment to conservation, Morris and the Bass Pro Shops family of outdoor companies provide thousands of American jobs throughout Florida. Morris and Bass Pro Shops operate 12 retail locations throughout the Sunshine State – from Destin to Islamorada. These operations provide thousands of jobs while supporting the state’s multi-billion dollar sport fishing and tourism industries. The company also works with a network of dozens of independent boat dealers across the state to equip anglers and boat owners in their quest to enjoy Florida’s many waterways, both fresh and saltwater.
Valhalla Island Resort will be a boost to tourism in the Florida Keys, particularly in the sports fishing and nature-based tourism segments. To that end, Morris and Bass Pro Shops plan to broadcast amazing affordable fishing and leisure experiences and promote Florida Keys tourism through the wide reach of their passionate customer base around the world.
Construction of the Valhalla Island Resort is scheduled to be completed within the next two years. Morris and his team will continue to share updates as the process continues.
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