Volunteer Work Party


November 19-24, 2020

Juniper Prairie Wilderness Trail Maintenance
Black Bear Chapter

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Join the Black Bear Chapter of the FTA in a week of trail maintenance in the Juniper Wilderness on the Ocala National Forest. The Wilderness is a unique part of the Florida Trail and it is maintained with hand tools only, bringing a legacy of skill and hard work to each day. We will also work on the western corridor of the Ocala National Forest using mechanized equipment.

The Juniper Prairie Wilderness in the Ocala National Forest is a complex mosaic of ancient scrub forests, pine islands and broad, open prairies where wildlife thrives. Nearby, Hidden Pond is a favorite local getaway and a jewel of the Ocala National Forest. This Volunteer Work Party within the Juniper Wilderness is unique to the Florida Trail, as it is only maintained with hand tools. This type of work reminds us of our forefathers who broke trail through this section of forest in the early 1960’s.

This wilderness was also the inspiration for Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s breakthrough novel The Yearling (1938), which describes Florida’s wilderness and the common themes which revolved around the settling of America. This book was later adapted into the 1946 movie of the same title, starring Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman, Claude Jarman, Jr., Chill Wills and Forrest Tucker.

As a designated and federally protected wilderness, the Juniper Prairie Wilderness has been virtually untouched by humans where visitors take only memories and leave only footprints. Here backpackers and day-hikers alike can still experience the pristine wilderness as described Rawlings’ book.

Camping is provided at the Fore Lake Campground in the Ocala National Forest. The Fore Lake Campground features a large group area with full restroom facilities. The campground also includes ample parking and a gated area with picnic benches and a covered pavilion. RVs are allowed here but there are no RV hookups at the Fore Lake Center.

Please note: In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the FTA team and our partners have dedicated extensive time and care into creating new and safe operating procedures for our FTA events and volunteer work parties. With these COVID-19 Operating Procedures in place, our focus is to minimize all participants’ possible exposure to the virus as much as possible. The comfort and safety of our FTA community members is of utmost priority to us.

Per the FTA Covid-19 protocols we will break into crews of no more than 5 members each day, working on different sections of the trail. Camping will also be broken up into teams of no more than 5 members with one centralized kitchen cooking for the group. Meals will be served and taken back to each camp. Masks will be utilized when appropriate and sanitation guidelines will be strictly adhered to.

The workdays will be from the morning of the 20th through to the afternoon of the 24th.

Hiking boots (description below) and long pants are required. Long-sleeve t-shirts are recommended.

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

In order to ensure that we are within our group size capacity due to COVID-19, registration for this work party is on a per-day basis. REGISTER through these links below to join one or more of the workdays for this maintenance event!:

Name: Fore Lake Campground

Address: 14434 NE Hwy 314, Silver Springs, FL 34488

Type: Front-country car camping and RV camping (Class B or C, no hook-ups available)


Bathroom: Yes
Shower: Yes
Potable Water: Yes
Power: Yes
RV Camping: Yes
RV Hookups: No

Camp Notes: Gated Area w/ Picnic Benches and a Covered Pavilion

Type of work: Trail Maintenance

Section of the FNST: Florida National Scenic Trail, Eastern & Western Corridors, Ocala National Forest
Maintenance Unit: Juniper Wilderness from Pat’s Island South

Total Hiking Miles Per Day: 6 Miles
Activity Level: Moderate

Start Time: @ 8:00 AM
End Time: approx. 3:00 PM

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: 20 volunteers
Physical Difficulty: Moderate 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.

Breakfast: Yes – @ 7:00 AM
Lunch: Yes – lunch packed @ breakfast (sandwiches and snacks)
Dinner: Yes – approx. 6:00 PM

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
FTA Staff: Community Outreach Manager
Registration Contact:
Van Tran, VanT@floridatrail.org

Questions About the Project
FTA Staff: North Florida Trail Program Manager
Project Contact: Jeff Glenn, jeffg@floridatrail.org

In order to ensure that we are within our group size capacity due to COVID-19, registration for this work party is on a per-day basis. REGISTER through these links below to join one or more of the workdays for this maintenance event!:

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)
Safety Whistle
Headlamp and/or small backpacking flashlight
Protective face mask
Personal container of hand sanitizer (hand sanitizer & cleaning supplies will also be provided by the FTA)

Tent (Rain Fly) and Footprint (if desired for tent)
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad or Inflatable Mattress
Foldable Camp Chair
Ear Plugs
Camp mug  or thermos for coffee (clean eating utensils will be provided by the FTA)

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*
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.

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, sun-shielding hat
Effective Bug Spray (DEET or Picaridin-based recommended)
Head net (optional)

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.)

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
Extra Face Masks

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

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Kitchen Essentials (Pots, Pans, Knives, Plates, Utensils, etc.)
Sanitary Stations (Bins, Soap, Hand Sanitizer, Water, etc.)

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!