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April 2018 E-blaze

April 2018
Volunteers from the Tropical Trekkers Chapter celebrate the opening of Micco Bluff
Micco Bluff Ribbon Cutting & Inaugural Hike
Removing Roadwalk
Central/South Florida Trail Program Manager, Kelly Wiener, writes:
On March 31st 2018, the FTA celebrated the opening of a new section of the Florida Trail along the Kissimmee River with a ribbon cutting and inaugural hike. This reroute has eliminated 8 miles of road walk on Micco Bluff Road. The new section of trail is 11.9 miles in length between Micco Landing Trailhead and Oak Creek Trailhead. The trail offers an incredibly scenic path through iconic natural communities in Central Florida, including oak hammocks, cow pastures, prairies, and marshes. Over 70 people attended the event and 53 participated in the hike!
The reroute was first scouted after the large shift in the Florida Trail from the west side of the Kissimmee River to the east in 2015. Since then, the completion of this reroute can be attributed to over 30 volunteers in the Tropical Trekkers chapter, the U.S. Forest Service, the Florida Conservation Corps, and support from South Florida Water Management District and FTA staff. Our records indicate that over 500 volunteer hours have been dedicated to this reroute.
User resources along the trail include Oak Creek campsite (1 mile west of the Oak Creek trailhead) and access to water from the Kissimmee River approximately 1 mile south of the campsite. A KMZ of this route is available by emailing kellyw@floridatrail.org. The former road walk has been blazed white and remains an alternative route during high water.
For a map and additional information on this new section of trail, visit our Trail Closures & Notices page.
Micco Bluff
Slideshow video of the inaugural hike
Micco Bluff Patch
Limited supply for $2.00 each
We thanked all the incredible volunteers involved in establishing the Micco Bluff section with these newly-designed, inaugural Micco Bluff patches. These are the beginning of more ‘Florida Trail Scenic Patches’ to come. We currently have 30 patches remaining in inventory. You can purchase these for $2.00 each through our FTA Store. Proceeds will go towards supporting the FTA efforts to develop, maintain, protect and promoting the Florida Trail.
FTA Annual Meeting, Chapter Council
& Open House
North Florida Trail Blazers Chapter volunteers posing with a $5,000 check donated to FTA
from funds their chapter successfully raised at this year’s I Did A Hike
FTA President, Leslie Wheeler, writes:
We had a productive Annual Meeting/Chapter Council/Open House/Board weekend, April 7 to 8. Many thanks to Jan Wells, Judy Trotta, and Lauren Krebs for helping me host the celebration at the new FTA office. It was quite a spread, and a good time was had by all. Special thanks to new Trailblazer Chair, Jeff Hampton, for providing the champagne and a toast to our FTA future.
At the Annual Meeting, I highlighted some of the work the Board has accomplished this past year. Administration of a corporation is not as instantly rewarding as blazing the Florida Trail, but just as important. The work can be tedious at times, but we also have fun. I am so grateful for the dedication of our Directors.
A list of major FTA accomplishments this year and the rest of Leslie’s write-up is available in our latest Winter/Spring 2018 edition of The Footprint Magazine:
Congratulations to all who received an FTA Award this year!
FTA Annual Meeting & Open House 2018
Slideshow video of this year’s annual meeting, awards presentation & open house
Building More Than Trails
with Outdoor Afro
Outdoor Afro Tampa and FTA Trail Maintainers in Richloam Tract
Outdoor Afro Leader, Hillary Van Dyke, and group members
enjoying the hike back from an afternoon of trail work in Richloam
“We’re starting to shift the visual representation of what getting out into nature looks like—not only who can be in nature, but who can lead.”
– Rue Mapp, Founder of Outdoor Afro
Community Outreach Manager, Van Tran, writes:
In honor of Earth Day last Sunday, North Florida Trail Program Manager, Jeff Glenn, and I met up with Outdoor Afro (OA)’s Tampa group to enjoy a beautiful day of trail work on the Richloam Tract in Withlacoochee State Forest. FTA Suncoast Chapter volunteer and new OA member, Joe Howard, joined us and led us through his chapter’s trail maintenance sections.
Traversing through pinewoods and cypress swamps, we successfully cleared 2 miles of a previously overgrown connector trail to the FT.
Outdoor Afro is a national non-profit organization that “celebrates and inspires African American connections and leadership in nature” by establishing leadership networks around the United States. With more than 60 leaders in 28 states, Outdoor Afro is devoted to connecting Black people with nature and offers partnership opportunities for agencies and organizations interested in furthering and supporting their work and network. Florida’s Outdoor Afro community has leaders in Miami, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Tampa.
The FTA and FNST Coalition believe everyone should have access to the Florida Trail and feel represented and included in our volunteer and hiking community. We recognize the need for the FT community to grow and evolve as new generations of trail users and stewards do. The FTA has a responsibility to ensure that all people have a chance to enjoy the many benefits of hiking and maintaining the Florida Trail. We are actively partnering with local groups and organizations that encourage, welcome, and create community for diverse users interested in outdoor recreation.
We’re excited to continue building this important partnership with Outdoor Afro on the Florida Trail and beyond. For further information on the great work being done by Outdoor Afro, please visit their website.
New Florida Trail Section
Colonel Robins Tract in Withlacoochee State Forest
North Florida Trail Program Manager, Jeff Glenn, writes:
The FTA and USFS are proud to announce the opening of a brand new section of the Florida Trail in the Withlacoochee State Forest on the Colonel Robins Tract. This fantastic trail section removes .75 miles of road walk and leads hikers between the Perry Oldenberg WMA and the Chinsegut Environmental Education Center. There is a large camping area with restrooms and water and Florida Trail users have access to a primitive site.
With the help of the hard working volunteers from the Suncoast Chapter of the FTA, this new trail was builtin one day. There have been lots of changes in the Brooksville area and this is just another example of working cooperatively to close the gaps and completing the trail!
Special Discount for FTA Members!
20% Discount on Sandra Friend and John Keatley’s The Florida Trail Book to FTA Members Only
We are offering Sandra and John’s FNST book (priced at $50) for $40 to FTA Members through the FTA Shop. This book is a wonderful resource for all Florida Trail enthusiasts.
“This commemorative retrospective of Florida’s National Scenic Trail shares the stories of those who have played a part in building, maintaining, and experiencing this national treasure, and recounts the paralleling history of the volunteer organization created to develop the trail, the Florida Trail Association.”
For more resources on hiking in Florida, visit https://floridahikes.com/.
Sandra Friend receiving an FTA Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Annual Meeting
Sandra at the Micco Bluff Inaugural Hike
Florida Trail Association | 1-877-HIKE-FLA | floridatrail.org