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June 2019 E-blaze

June 2019
Alaqua Bridge Inaugural Ribbon Cutting
Florida’s Newest and Longest Suspension Bridge
On Friday, June 14, the Florida Trail Association, Eglin Air Force Base, and FT Coalition Partners celebrated the Florida Trail’s newest and longest suspension bridge with an inaugural ribbon cutting in Eglin.
Planning and construction of the 70-foot Alaqua “Demon” Bridge over Alaqua Creek has been an extensive, long-term and collaborative project between the U.S. Forest Service, the Florida Trail Association, the Choctawhatchee and Western Gate Chapters, Framing Our Community, Eglin Air Force Base/Jackson Guard and land owners, Chet Winegarner and Jimmy Gainey. The ribbon cutting showcased the significant efforts of these partners and contributors. Evan C. Dertien, Brigadier General and the Commander of the Eglin Air Force Base, attended the ceremony and acknowledged this tremendous accomplishment. It was a true honor to have General Dertien celebrate the opening of Alaqua Bridge with us.
Alaqua Bridge is also called Demon Bridge as it was a demon to build and move 4 times over as shared by one of our FTA volunteers at the ceremony. Over 2,000 total volunteer hours have been dedicated to this project. Their hard work and dedication has paid off, and next season’s Florida Trail hikers will now enjoy a safe and accessible crossing on a stunning new bridge.
Our next Footprint Magazine will feature a detailed article about the Alaqua Bridge Project, written by Panhandle Trail Program Manager, Adam Fryska. Stay tuned!
Click here to view more photos of the ceremony.
Florida Trail 5-Year Strategic Plan
Want to learn more about how the U.S. Forest Service and the Florida Trail Association is working together to connect Florida’s public lands?
Check out the Florida Trail 5-Year Strategic Plan to learn the steps we’re taking to maintain, protect, promote and complete the FT.
Click here to view the full document.
“The Florida National Scenic Trail is so much more than just a footpath, it is a network of people and special places. It provides outstanding recreational opportunities, while promoting conservation and connectivity to Florida’s public lands. To ensure that this iconic treasure is available for all generations, we must prepare for its future — and that’s why this 5-year plan is so important.”
– Shawn Thomas, Florida National Scenic Trail Administrator, U.S. Forest Service
7th Annual Trail Skills Training
The 7th Annual Trail Skills Training is scheduled for the weekend of September 20-22 at Camp La-No-Che in Paisley, Florida. The FTA Regional Managers will be reaching out to Chapter Chairs within the coming weeks with more event details and requests for volunteer nominations.
Trail Skills Training is a fun and educational opportunity for new or active volunteers who are interested in developing trail maintenance, project coordination and leadership skills through the Technical Track or for volunteers would need to receive or re-certify a Wilderness First Aid certification . **Be sure to contact your respective chapter chair to be considered for nomination to attend the training.
Save the Date
Upcoming FTA Special Events
The Panhandle Chapter Presents:
@ Compass Lake in the Hills: Cabins, Camper sites & Tent sites available
Come celebrate hiking Panhandle Trails again after Hurricane Michael!
*More details to come
Join the Panhandle Chapter’s Meetup page & follow them on Facebook for continued updates.
FTA Southern Regional Conference
December 13 – 15, 2019
@ Tanah Keeta Scout Camp
Loxahatchee Slough, OTL day hike. Photo by Winnie Lo
A Regional Gathering of Hikers in Juniper, FL
*More details to come
Follow the Loxahatchee Chapter’s Meetup page for future updates.
Florida Trail Association | 1-877-HIKE-FLA | floridatrail.org