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August 2020 E-blaze

August 2020
Big Bend Reroute Update
USFS Staff, FTA Staff & Board Members scout Fenholloway River as a part of the Big Bend Reroute, 2017.
We are thrilled to share an update on our progress closing one of the largest gaps in the Florida Trail– a 50-mile gap between Twin Rivers State Forest and the Aucilla Wildlife Management Area.
A viable public land option was identified in 2016, and became known as the “Big Bend Reroute.” The route traverses some of the most scenic and undeveloped coastal areas in Florida, and connects state forest lands, two state parks, and several state wildlife and water management units.
The US Forest Service and FTA have published print and digital articles discussing this project over the past several years, along with public surveys seeking input on the routing. We received tremendous support from the public, FTA membership and land managers alike.
A challenging aspect of the Big Bend Reroute is that it is located slightly outside the 20 mile planning corridor as published in the 1986 Comprehensive Plan. This document provides guidance to FTA and Forest Service staff on the development, management and protection of the Florida Trail. Any routing change that does not fit within the parameters laid out in this plan require agency approval.
We are pleased to announce that the long-awaited routing decision has recently been approved and signed by the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Regional Forester!
This reroute has been developed through a coordinated effort between the FTA and our Forest Service partners, as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Suwannee River Water Management District, Florida State Parks and the Office of Greenways and Trails, the Florida Forest Service, Taylor County, Four Rivers Land & Timber Company LLC and the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation. We would like to thank these partners for their ongoing support and enthusiasm.
More detailed updates about the Big Bend Reroute will be shared in an article Shawn Thomas, our Florida National Scenic Trail Administrator, has written for the upcoming Summer/Fall Edition Footprint Magazine. Stay tuned!
Please reach out to Adam Fryska, Panhandle Trail Program Manager with the FTA if you have any questions and to see how you can help with the next phase of this exciting development.
Land and Water Conservation Becomes Protected by Law
This month, the Great American Outdoors Act, one of the most impactful pieces of conservation and outdoor recreation legislation in decades, became law.
For years, trails organizations and the hiking community have advocated for full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Together we’ve worked to address the public lands maintenance backlog in order to expand access to the outdoors for all hikers, both in local communities and parks, forests, and wildlife refuges across the country.
To learn more about what the Great American Outdoors Act Means for the Hiking Community, visit this blog post by the American Hiking Society.
Wild East Women’s Virtual Walkabout
In Honor of National Public Lands Day
Join us on September 26th: Wild East Women (WEW) is hosting a women’s walkabout in honor of #NationalPublicLandsDay that invites all to go out for a walk, stroll, or trek nearby.  Everyone is encouraged to incorporate a service component, if possible. Walk anywhere, share adventure stories with friends with your earbuds in, capture some video and photos, and join us for happy hour afterwards at 5pm. Register here!: rebrand.ly/wewwalkabout
When sharing your Virtual Walkabout adventure, be sure to tag us!: #wildeastwomen
Wild East Women is an affinity group created to support women in engaging with the trail in meaningful ways. The goal is to create future adventurers, stewards, and leaders on the trails.
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