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.