North Florida Trail Program Manager, Jeff Glenn, writes:
Earlier this month, the FTA celebrated the opening of a new section of the Florida Trail along the Suwannee River in Big Shoals State Park. Present were FTA staff and President, Leslie Wheeler, alongside the US Forest Service Trail Administrator, Shawn Thomas, Big Shoals State Park Manager, Manny Perez, and representatives from the Suwannee River Water Management District and the Town of White Springs. Also present were approximately thirty members of the public that came out to support the Florida Trail and the collective effort to close gaps.
After an FTA-sponsored breakfast and some encouraging words by several land managers, the group took off on a three-mile round trip hike from Bell Springs Trailhead to Big Shoals. The Suwannee River was 55 feet above sea level that day, which made for a spectacular flow at the shoals. Not quite class III rapids, which only occur between 59-61 feet, but still a real treat to see in Florida.
This new section of trail eliminates 5 miles of road walk and adds 3 new miles of trail between the Osceola National Forest and the Town of White Springs. It is a gem of a trail and certainly one of the highlights of the North Florida region.