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January 2019 E-blaze

January 2019
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Community Outreach Manager, Van Tran, writes:
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started in 2003 by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), a nonprofit river conservation organization located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. The festival is a call to action, featuring films that illustrate the challenges facing our planet and the important work communities around the world are doing to protect the environment and the places we love. The stories give us a sense of place and what it means to be responsible stewards of the earth. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival goes on tour each year and is hosted by 150+ communities worldwide.
This past Saturday, January 26th, the Florida Trail Association was thrilled to host our 2nd Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival at Swamp Head Brewery in Gainesville, Florida. We had an amazing turnout of over 300 attendees and were able to raise funds to support our efforts in building, maintaining, protecting and promoting the Florida Trail. We also were able to raise donations for NW Florida’s American Red Cross. These donations will go to support hurricane relief in the Panhandle.
Thank you to everyone who attended and a very special thanks to Swamp Head Brewery, The Front Porch Backsteppers, our incredible guest speakers, tabling organizations, food vendors, all-star volunteers and staff who all took part in making this a successful and inspiring event!
To see a list of the films that were screened and tabling organizations involved in the event, visit the Film Program link below.
Lake Lizzie Ribbon Cutting & Hike
Celebrating a New Section of the Florida Trail
Central & South Florida Trail Manager, Kelly Wiener, writes:
On Friday, January 25th, we joined Osceola County in cutting the ribbon on a new section of the Florida Trail in Lake Lizzie Conservation Area. This section of trail is part of our ongoing effort to close the “Central Florida Gap,” a roadwalk between Bull Creek WMA and Tosohatchee WMA. The ceremony featured speeches from Commissioner Fred Hawkins, FTA President Leslie Wheeler, Osceola County Public Lands Manager Bob Mindick, and Dale Allen of the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation. After the ceremony, participants hiked the new 3.5 mile section of trail, learning along the way about the species and natural communities in the preserve from local Florida Master Naturalist Paul Rebmann. Thank you to all who attended!
Effects of the Gov’t Shutdown
Florida Trail Program Director, Alex Stigliano, writes:
You likely saw that the Florida Trail was closed to all maintenance activities during the length of the recent government shutdown. This was frustrating and unfortunate, as we had to cancel work that had been planned for months. Volunteers were forced to cancel travel plans, and crucial weeks of cool, maintenance-friendly weather were lost. 35 days of work that we won’t get back.
The following are just some of the many Volunteer events that were canceled.
  • 3 Day Yellow River Ravines
  • 3 Day Econfina WMA
  • 3 Day Three Lakes WMA
  • 3 Day St Marks NWR
  • 7 Day Juniper Prairie Wilderness
  • Level C Chainsaw Training/Certification
There were many more trail maintenance events that our Chapters had to cancel. Keep in mind that the Chapters in the panhandle were hit especially hard as there is still so much post-hurricane Michael cleanup that needs to be done.
You can imagine that our dedicated volunteers are working hard to accomplish as much maintenance as possible before February 15, when funding is set expire again. If you would like to join these efforts, please reach out to your Chapter’s Trail Coordinator to find out when the next group is planning to hit the trail and scroll down here to see upcoming staff-supported VWPs! In particular, consider joining the Econfina VWP March 1-3.
Orange Blaze: A Florida Trail Podcast
Panhandle Trail Closure Updates with Adam Fryska
Our very own Panhandle Trail Manager, Adam Fryska, was featured on a recent episode of the Orange Blaze Podcast! Adam discusses current conditions in the Panhandle in the wake up of Hurricane Michael and how the FTA is responding to make the Florida Trail safe and accessible again. Please give this a listen and thank you Misti Little for the incredible work you do to capture the many voices of the trail!
Save the Date
Upcoming Volunteer Work Parties & FTA Special Events
Wilderness First Aid Certification
Upcoming Course Announcement
February 2-3, Orlando, FL: REI Wildnerness First Aid NOLS CertificationREGISTER HERE
February 23-24, Jacksonville, FL: REI Wildnerness First Aid NOLS Certification REGISTER HERE
Suwannee Bicycle Association
Pedal, Paddle and Play with SBA!
Since 1989, SBA has been promoting environmental awareness through bicycling, paddling, hiking and camping in the Suwannee Valley region. SBA’s historic clubhouse is just outside Stephen Foster State Park in White Springs, FL. Most of our events take place at the park, with easy access to hiking, road riding, paddling and 50 miles of mountain bike trails. For more information: www.suwanneebike.org
Sharing trails
Some SBA and FTA trails are shared by hikers and mountain bikers. A few years ago, the Town of White Springs, working with the FTA and SBA, created a reroute that takes FT hikers on SBA’s Bridge to Bridge mountain bike trail, along the Suwannee River and through the historic town of White Springs. In return, the FTA turned over to SBA a trail in Gar Pond. Another current FTA initiative, supported by SBA, is reopening a section of the Big Oak tract, across from the Suwannee River State Park, for hiking and cycling.
You’re invited:
Spring Pedal n’ Paddle Festival, May 2-5, 2019
2-3 days of paddling, cycling and more. Camping and meals included. More info here.
Florida Trail Association | 1-877-HIKE-FLA | floridatrail.org