Florida Trail Association
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The Florida Trail

August 2018 E-Blaze

August 2018
Visitor Use Management

Managing Use on Our National Scenic Trails

Florida Trail Program Director, Alex Stigliano, writes:

Florida Trail Program Staffers, Alex and Van, recently attended a workshop on visitor use management, accompanied by representatives from the other 10 National Scenic Trails. This workshop was designed to foster common knowledge and to develop a baseline understanding of visitor use management and visitor capacity specific to national scenic trails.
We learned in-depth information from researchers and technical advisers of theInteragency Visitor Use Management Council about the VUM Framework and associated guidebooks. We had many opportunities to discuss current and emerging issues relevant to the Florida Trail.
Human and bear interactions were of particular concern to us. As you may know, a section of the Florida Trail in the Ocala National Forest was temporarily closed because dangerous bear encounters in the Juniper Prairie Wilderness Area. Our discussion produced interesting and helpful perspectives.
We also learned that staff from the Pacific Northwest Trail are working with researchers to understand grizzly-human interactions using GPS technology. Select thru-hikers are being asked to carry GPS units that will create a line on a digital map (called tracks). These can then be overlaid by tracks created by grizzly’s wearing GPS collars. The researches will then correlate this information to when the human and bear GPS tracks were generated. The resulting data should provide an accurate picture of where and when humans and bears are most likely to interact. This information will then be considered as trail routes are determined.
To learn more about the Interagency Visitor Use Management Council and its work, visit their website HERE.
Mark Your Calendars!
FTA Presents: The National Trails Festival
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System
The FTA invites all nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to come celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, October 5-7 in Deland, FL. The Florida Trail is one of eleven other designated national scenic trails that were spawned by this 1968 Act of Congress. Everyone’s invited to drop in and check out these amazing public resources!
  • Learn about America’s important trails and opportunities to enjoy, traverse and volunteer on them
  • Check out various presentations, workshops, demos and displays; and meet a variety of outdoor leaders
  • Hear from compelling guests, including: our Friday evening speaker, outdoor diversity advocate and author, Audrey Peterman and on Saturday night, well-known speed-hiker and author, Jennifer Pharr Davis
  • Other exciting guests from the outdoor community will also be present
  • Friday, October 7, 3-5pmSandra Friend and John Keatley’s official book launch and book signing for the new, full-color Third Edition of 50 Hikes in Central Florida
  • Saturday, October 6, 10 am-12 pm: All are invited to sit in on the Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST) Coalition Meeting. The FNST Coalition is composed of land management, academic, non-profit and other government agency partners that have a stake in the future of the Florida Trail. Sit in on this meeting to learn how the Coalition brings a diversity of perspectives, interests and expertise to the Florida Trail to ensure that the trail is a truly public asset that is accessible for all to enjoy!
  • Live music by The Front Porch Back Steppers
  • Exciting gear raffle including items from Osprey®, Gossamer Gear® & Granite Gear®
  • Bonus: We’ll also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act!
Put this FREE EVENT on your calendar and help us spread the word! We’ll be sharing more information as the date gets closer. It’s time to celebrate this important legislation and the trails and communities that are its legacy!
The Pursuit of Endurance
Check out a glimpse of Jennifer Pharr Davis’s “Pursuit of Endurance.” We look forward to having her as one of our guest speakers at the National Trails Festival!
Audrey and Frank Peterman have been pioneers in the green and conservation movement since 1995.They are among the leading experts on America’s publicly-owned lands system. They are tenacious advocates for breaking
the color barrier and integration of our natural treasures as a way for all Americans, including children, youth, adults and seniors regardless of ethnic heritage to better appreciate our collective history and achieve a truly democratic society.
Sandra Friend and John Keatley will be launching and signing their new, full-color Third Edition book, “50 Hikes in Central Florida”
Volunteer Opportunitie
2018-19 FTA Staff-Supported Work Parties
Our work parties for this maintenance are now posted on the FTA website. Check them out and register to join!
Western Corridor Puncheon Project
Large-Scale Volunteer Work Party in the Ocala National Forest
North Florida Trail Manager, Jeff Glenn, writes:
This trail season, we are partnering with the National Forest Foundation and REI to host one of the largest Volunteer Work Parties in FTA History. The Western Corridor of the Ocala National Forest needs a major overhaul and in this two-week event we will replace 9,000 board feet of puncheon on eleven miles of trail. In addition to the carpentry component, we will also be installing a brand new section of trail that will eliminate 4 miles of paved roadwalk.
There is a large capacity for volunteers with this event and we need all the help we can get. Check out the project page and register for one of the greatest trail projects of the year.
Base camp for this volunteer work party will be at Fore Lake Campground
Suwannee Secrets
I am most alive among the tall trees.
The world’s 2nd thickest bald cypress tree. Photo credit: PJ Wetzel
North Florida Trail Manager, Jeff Glenn, writes:
Did you know that the Florida Trail in Holton Creek Conservation Area along the Suwannee River– aside from being one of the most beautiful sections of trail in the state– is also home to three world champion trees?
The Holton Creek tract is the home of two co-champion Bald Cypress trees. The champion tree program recognizes the largest known tree of each species in Florida. The individual tree with the highest point total – based on height, circumference, and crown spread – is considered the champion for that species. Trees are considered co-champions when total scores differ less than 2 percent.
Cypress tree’s scientific name is Taxodium distichum, a large, slow-growing, and long-lived tree. It typically grows to heights of 100—120 feet and a trunk diameter of 3-6 feet. The main trunks are surrounded by cypress knees. The bark is grayish brown to reddish brown, thin, and fibrous with a stringy texture; it has a vertically interwoven pattern of shallow ridges and narrow furrows. The leaves are alternate and linear, with flat blades borne on the twigs that are spirally arranged on the stems, but twisted at the base to lie in two horizontal ranks. Unlike most other species in the family Cupressaceae, it is deciduous (loses its leaves in winter) hence the appellation of “bald.”
The tree growing in the karst depression is over 46 feet (557 inches) in circumference (circumference is measured 4.5’ up from the base of the tree) and 84 feet tall with an average crown spread of 49 feet. Its massive size is easy to recognize. A new trail leads directly from the Holton Creek River Camp to the record cypress.
The bald cypress co-champion in Holton Creek grows up out of the creek’s bed Looking down at the tree from the overlook its massive size is easy to spot, yet difficult to gain a sense of the tree’s massive girth. The tree measures 45 feet (537 inches) in circumference (circumference is measured 4.5’ up from the base of the tree), 14.6 feet in diameter and 101 feet tall with an average crown spread of 49 feet.
These cypress trees have inhabited this spot since long before the first Europeans reached Florida.
For more information on champion trees, visit the Florida Forest Service website.
The Florida Trail is a magical place to be in the world and there are new surprises to be found all over the state. Go out and find your own magic!
The tallest Live Oak tree in the world measures 100 feet tall. Photo credit www.monumentaltrees.com
Keeping the FTA mission moving
Meet Loretta, the new Central/South region FTA truck
Central/South Florida Trail Manager, Kelly Wiener, writes:
After 15 years and 200,000 miles, the orange “Blaze– Mobile” has been laid to rest to make way for a new and improved Central/South regional vehicle. This month, the FTA board approved the purchase of a pre-owned 2018 Dodge Ram 1500, the organizations largest purchase to date. The truck has everything a trail maintainer could ask for, including 4 wheel drive, a V8 engine, large towing capacity, bench seating, and a crew cab for shuttling volunteers. We are also in the process of creating designs to wrap the truck in FTA marketing.
Thanks again to the FTA board for supporting the Central/South region with this purchase, and a special thank you to board member Bill Turman for helping to inspect the vehicle and negotiate a great deal!
FT Trivia Quiz
How well do you know the Florida Trail?
Take a moment to test your knowledge of the Florida Trail and FTA history. Check out the FT Trivia Quiz!
Florida Trail Association | 1-877-HIKE-FLA | floridatrail.org