Volunteer Work Party

December 14-19, 2018

Ocala National Forest Trail Maintenance: Western Corridor Puncheon Replacement
Black Bear Chapter

Scroll down to Register for this volunteer opportunity

Join the Black Bear chapter of the Florida Trail Association in finishing the final portion of our showcase project for the 2018/2019 trail season. The Western Corridor of the Florida Trail on the Ocala National Forest is a wet and wild place with terrain not commonly found on the well-traveled Eastern Corridor.   This project is entirely focused on replacing aging infrastructure to enhance the safety and quality of eleven miles of trail. The existing puncheon (by definition: a heavy slab of timber, roughly dressed, for use a floorboard) is in very poor condition and in dire need of replacement. During this project, we will install the remainder of the 9,000 board feet of new puncheon. It has been a very large undertaking and we are excited to have the opportunity to partner with our friends at REI Inc. and the National Forest Foundation to make it happen.

Hiking boots and long pants are required. Long-sleeve t-shirts are recommended.

This event is a free volunteer opportunity. Join our crew and have fun!


Name: Fore Lake Campground
Address: 14434 NE Hwy 314
Silver Springs State: FL Zipcode: 34488
County: Marion County

Type: Front-country car camping and RV camping (limited hook-ups available)

We will have a large camping setup at the Fore Lake Campground on the Ocala National Forest.  All meals will be provided by the FTA during this project with a team of full-time kitchen help to keep the pace as we work in the woods.

Tent camping will be available in a large field with full facility bathrooms located very close by.  There will be electrical outlets in the kitchen for charging cell phones and the like but none available near the tents.

Feel free to bring a kayak or canoe, as we will have the pleasure of camping right on the shore of Fore Lake.  Our campsite is gorgeous with plenty of trees for hammock hanging and a great open space to play.

There are RV spots available on a first come-first serve basis.  There is water at each site, but there are no electric or sewer hookups. However, there is a dump station in the campground.

If you are interested in bringing your camper or RV, you MUST email jeffg@floridatrail.org and declare the dates you want to stay.  We will assign sites to people as registrations come in.  There is no guarantee you will be given a site so please do not come without receiving confirmation of your site.

Driving Directions:
Drive 5.1 miles north on SR 314 from Nuby’s Corner (junction of SR 40 and SR 314).
Turn left at the Fore Lake sign and continue 0.7 miles to the recreation area.


Bathroom: Yes
Shower: Yes
Potable Water: Yes
Power: Yes
RV Camping: Yes but limited, RV hookups only in designated sites which cannot be reserved.

This will be a labor-intensive carpentry project that will involve lots of hard work.  Project work includes: removing old puncheons, often hauling very heavy timbers by hand, and replacing them with new timbers, also often carried by hand.  There is certainly a job for everyone, however, so if hauling heavy timbers is not your thing, there is plenty of other less intense work to be done. 

Type of work: Trail Maintenance

Section of the FNST: Florida National Scenic Trail, Western Corridor, Ocala National Forest

Total Hiking Miles Per Day: 5 Miles
Activity Level: Difficult

Meals:  Coffee 6:30 AM – Breakfast 7:00 AM – Lunch prepared in am and eaten at worksite – Dinner 6:00 PM

Start Time:

Friday (12/14): Arrive after 4:00 PM (No Work) This is not a work day, but rather a day to set up your camp and enjoy a first meal with the crew and prepare for the work ahead. (Dinner served only)

Saturday (12/15): If not camping, arrive at Fore Lake by 8:00am for work detail. (All meals provided)

End Time:
Wednesday (12/19): approx. 4:00 PM (Breakfast and packable lunch provided)

Minimum Age: 1 4 years old (*Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a Legal Guardian. These individuals must also complete a Youth Waiver Form)
Max Group Size: 21 volunteers
Physical Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult activities. Volunteers will be assigned tasks based on their individual comfort level and technical proficiency.

Restrictions: Only US Forest Service certified sawyers will be allowed to operate chainsaws on the Florida Trail.

When registering, volunteers may be asked about known medical conditions or allergy concerns. This information is treated as confidential information, and is only shared with Crew Leaders and the Florida Trail Association Staff. Please disclose all known medical and allergy information. This information enables crew leaders and staff to respond appropriately to medical emergencies. Medical or allergy conditions will not disqualify you from participating in a Volunteer Work Party.

Meals will be provided from Friday (12/14) Dinner to Wednesday (12/19) lunch

When registering, volunteers may indicate dietary needs and/or preferences, as well as known food allergies. If we are unable to honor your request, we’ll contact you so that you can provide your own meals. In most cases we are able to accommodate special meal requests.

Questions About Registration
Registration Contact: Van Tran, (352) 538-7639, VanT@floridatrail.org

Questions About the Project
FTA Chapter: Black Bear
Project Contact: Jeff Glenn, (352) 514-1455, jeffg@floridatrail.org or Abe Christian, (352) 441-4510, abec@floridatrail.org

To register for this Volunteer Work Party please click the link below.

Registrations are first-come, first served by date time stamp. You will receive an email confirmation within 72 hours. The FTA reserves a 10-person wait-list, and will notify individuals on the wait list within two (2) weeks of the project date. Volunteers may be contacted the week of the event to fill open volunteer registrations.


This list is not a comprehensive pack list. Please use this list to help plan for your event.

One large backpack for all your personal items
One day pack, large enough to carry water, food, rain gear and other personal items
Pack cover (rain gear)

Tent (Rain Fly) and Footprint (if desired for tent)
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad or Inflatable Mattress
Foldable Camp Chair
Ear Plugs

Bring a Cup, a Bowl and Eating Utensils

Wicking T-shirts (synthetic or wool)
Wicking Underwear
Quick-Drying Pants and Shorts
Sturdy Work Pants
Long-Sleeve Shirts (for sun, bugs, thorny plants)
Socks (synthetic or wool)
Bandana or BuffWarm
Insulating Layers (Night) – Puffy Jacket, Vest, Pants and Hat
Rain Jacket or Poncho

One pair of Hiking Boots (required)*
One pair of Camp Shoes (closed-toed)

*Note: Hiking boots can be either trail runners or traditional hiking boots (ankle-support preferred). No tennis shoes or sandals.

Headlamp and/or small backpacking flashlight
Small lighter in waterproof container or plastic bag (optional)

Two 32-ounce water bottles
OR One 2-Liter hydration bladder bag (preferred)

*Note: Each person should be drinking at least 3-liters of water a day. This is your personal responsibility.

Sunscreen, lip balm, sun glasses, base-ball hat or other sun-shielding hat

DEET-based Bug Spray (recommended)
Head net

Bathroom Essentials (camp soap, toothbrush, etc.), Toilet Paper, Wash Cloth and Pack Towel

Any Prescription Medications or Over-the-Counter Medications (seasonal allergies, pain relievers (Ibuprofen for inflammation/pain), etc.)

Safety Whistle

Trekking Poles
Energy Food (Bars, Gels, Chews, Trail Mix)
Energy Beverage or Drink Mixes
Packable Lantern
Notebook and Pen
Book (for camp!)
Camera and Memory Cards
A Smile and Sense of Adventure!

At this Volunteer Work Party the Florida Trail Association will provide the following gear and services.

Experienced Crew Leaders

Hard Hat
Safety Glasses
Ear Protection
Chainsaw Chaps

Mechanized Equipment (Mowers, Brush Cutters, Chainsaws, etc.)
Hand Tools (Loppers, Hand Saws, Etc.)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Kitchen Essentials (Pots, Pans, Knives, Etc.)
Sanitary Stations (Bins, Soap, Water, Etc.)


Limited power will be available at this Volunteer Work Party

This event is hosted at a front-country campground with full restroom facilities


Thank you for volunteering with the Florida Trail Association. Your service allows millions to experience the unique wildlands in Florida!