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February 2018 E-blaze

February 2018
Oak Hammock in Micco Bluff/Kissimmee Prairie Preserve by Eleanor Bauer
Micco Bluff Reroute Celebration: Ribbon Cutting & Hike
Join us in celebrating the Micco Bluff reroute!
Saturday, March 31st, 2018, 8:30am – 3:00pm:
The Micco Bluff reroute will close an 8-mile gap in the Florida Trail, getting hikers off Micco Road and instead, on SFWMD land between Micco Landing and Oak Creek. The new trail meanders through the beautiful oak hammocks, pastures, and prairies.
On March 31st at the Micco Landing trail-head, the FTA is hosting a ribbon cutting, honoring our volunteers and SFWMD partners for their incredible accomplishment. Following the ribbon cutting, we will lead a day hike on the 8 miles of new trail.
Micco Reroute Map
The first blazes of the Deseret Reroute have been painted!
FTA volunteers and staff stand at the new Split Oak trailhead in Orange County
Central/South Florida Regional Representative, Kelly Wiener, writes:
In Central Florida, our staff, volunteers and Forest Service partners have been diligently working on the long-awaited solution to close the gap in Orange and Osceola County around the Deseret Ranch. This reroute will close a 31-mile road walk– the largest gap on the Florida Trail– between Bull Creek WMA and Tosohatchee WMA. This new section of trail will connect parcels owned by a variety of entities including the Fish and Wildlife Commission, Orange County, Osceola County, local land developers, utility services, and more.
FTA staff and volunteers have been blazing segments of trail as agreements with these land managing entities are reached. So far, this has included Lake Lizzie Conservation Area in Osceola County, Split Oak Forest in Orange County, and Moss Park in Orange County on the way within the coming weeks. While the blazed sections are currently open as section hikes, our hope is to open the reroute for long-distance hiking during the 2018-2019 season. Stay tuned on social media and our Footprint magazine for more updates as this reroute develops!
Map of Section Reroute (Click for larger image)
City of Lake Butler Joins the
Gateway Communities Program
Wes Williams, Jeff Glenn, Bob Kerkel & Janie Hamilton proudly stand alongside the newly-installed
FT kiosk in Lake Butler (Photo by Janie Hamilton of the North Florida Trailblazers Chapter)
North Florida Regional Representative, Jeff Glenn, writes:
We are so happy to welcome the City of Lake Butler into the Gateway Communities Program. Located directly on the FT in the Palatka-Lake Butler State Trail section, the city has become a must for all FT thru-hikers. A historic train depot, which has been lovingly restored by the city, is now open for overnight stays to all hikers who can present a photo ID at City Hall, which is located right next door. Restrooms, water, and picnic pavilions offer the hiking community a great resting point and there is a full service supermarket only two blocks away.
It is partners like these that are helping to make the trail a destination for not just backpackers, but also the general public that is not yet familiar with the National Scenic Trail system. We look forward to a long and great partnership with the City of Lake Butler!
This February, a new kiosk was installed on the trail which offers FT hikers, as well as Rail Trail users, a big picture glimpse of the Florida Trail as well as a multitude of great local information about the city.
February Trail Work Parties
This past month, we hosted four successful, staff-supported work parties throughout the state at Big Cypress, Choctawhatchee, Prairie Lakes and Econfina. Here are some snapshots from those work parties. We are so grateful for the amazing FTA volunteers who were involved in these maintenance projects alongside our staff members. Their hard work and dedication keep the Florida Trail thriving and the FTA mission moving.
Prairie Lakes Work Party
Central/South FL Regional Representative, Kelly Wiener, and volunteers from the Indian River Chapter install trail crossing signs at Canoe Creek Road (CR 523) to alert motorists of the upcoming pedestrian crossing. This is just the beginning of a statewide effort to add signage at road crossings. We hope this signage will keep the hikers safe while spreading awareness of the FT.
Econfina Work Party
North FL Regional Representative, Adam Fryska, and volunteers from the Panhandle Chapter celebrate their last major maintenance party of the season. Also note that Adam is skilled in the art of levitating. Can you spot him?
Big Cypress Work Party
Photo Slideshow Big Cypress VWP 2018
A slideshow of photos from our incredible week of trail work in Big Cypress this winter. Our team of three FTA staff members and six FTA volunteers completed maintenance on a total of 9.5 miles of the Florida Trail north and south of Thirteen Mile Camp.
Footprint Magazine
Our latest edition of the Footprint Magazine is available to view online! Visit our website to check out this edition and previous ones.
I Did A Hike 2018
This past Saturday, February 24th, the North Florida Trailblazers Chapter of the FTA hosted the 10th Annual I Did A Hike, a fund-raising hike along the Florida Trai. This year, the hike ran for a total of 10.8 miles from Camp Blanding to Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, just north of Keystone Heights. Shuttle rides were provided for registered participants to the starting point and sag wagons were provided at various mile points along the way.
Over 200 people attended this event including Eric Draper, Director of the Florida State Parks System; Jim Kern, Founder of the Florida Trail; FT thru-hiker, Bush Whacker, who recently completed his 6th FT thru-hike; FTA members and volunteers from across the state; and many new faces to the Florida Trail! A big shout-out to the North Florida Trailblazers Chapter for hosting such a successful and inspiring event!
Seeking FTA Board Members
FTA Board Director, Megan Donoghue, writes:
The Board is always looking for qualified candidates to help take The Florida Trail Association further. If interested, please contact fta@floridatrail.org. Click here to view our current Board of Directors.
FTA Annual Meeting
Saturday, April 7, 2018
The Annual Meeting will be held at the Wyndham Garden Gainesville (formerly the Paramount).
Join Us!