Volunteer Work Party

January 17-24, 2020

Owl Pine/Juniper Prairie Wilderness Trail Maintenance
Black Bear Chapter

Scroll down to Register for this volunteer opportunity

Join the Black Bear Chapter of the FTA in a week of work in the Juniper Prairie Wilderness on the Ocala National Forest, between Rt. 40 and Pat’s Island. 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.  This project has a very long history and it is a great place to meet up with old friends, make new friends, and enjoy some fine Florida winter weather.

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 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’s book.

Don’t miss out on this unique volunteer experience! Crews will perform moderate trail maintenance in the Ocala Forest, and volunteers should expect to hike over 4 miles a day. We will be working mostly on the south half of Juniper Prairie Wilderness. Because of the Wilderness designation, all of the trail maintenance work is done with hand tools, no power tools are used. Much of the trail is through old burned areas with lots of encroaching scrub oak that needs to be lopped. Most of the dead trees have already fallen, but there are still a few trees that must be removed.

Camping is at Owl Pine Camp in DeLeon Springs and we will commute to the Ocala each day.

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: Owl Pine Camp

Address: 1108 Reynolds Road
 DeLeon Springs State: FL Zip code: 32130
County: Volusia County

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

Driving Directions:
1. From US 17 in DeLeon Springs, turn east on Reynolds Road, at the Wells Fargo Bank.
2. Go approx. 1 mile east, Hidden Valley Mobile Home Park is on the right.
3. Turn left opposite and just east of the MH park at the FNST event sign. Go to the back to the camping area. 


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

Camp Notes: Tent camping near car. The daily travel to the Ocala National Forest work-site will be by carpooling each day. 

Type of work: Trail Maintenance

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

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

Start Time:
Friday (17): Arrive after 4:00 PM (No Work)
Saturday (18) – Friday (24): @ 8:00 AM

End Time:
Saturday (18) – Friday (24): approx. 3:00 PM
Friday (24): approx. 12:00 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: 25 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.

Friday (17): No breakfast
Saturday (18) – Friday (24): Yes – @ 7:00 AM

Friday (17): No lunch
Saturday (18) – Friday (24): Yes – lunch packed @ breakfast (sandwiches and snacks)

Friday (18) – Thursday (23): Yes – approx. 6:00 PM
Friday (24): No Dinner

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, (352) 538-7639, VanT@floridatrail.org

Questions About the Project
FTA Staff: North Florida Trail Program Manager
Project Contact: Jeff Glenn, (352) 514-1455, jeffg@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
Appearances by FTA Regional Representatives

Hard Hat
Safety Glasses
Ear Protection

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.)


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!