Florida Trail Association
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The Florida Trail
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May 2020 E-blaze

May 2020
Protecting More Than Trails
As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, the FTA board, staff, and our U.S. Forest Service partners have been closely monitoring conditions in Florida, and working together to provide operating procedures that keep our communities safe.
Recommendations to hikers:
  • As always, only hike sections of the trail that are open to the public according to the relevant land managing agency. Refer to our Trail Closures & Notices page for updates.
  • Only hike on the Florida Trail if it is within close proximity of your home. A rule of thumb suggested by the American Hiking Society is to stay within about 50 miles of your home.
  • If significant travel is required, we recommend instead that you explore your local trails and open spaces to reduce risk of spreading the disease.
  • Follow CDC safety guidelines while hiking.
  • Avoid trailheads that appear to be crowded.
Trail Maintenance:
For the past two months, FTA and USFS staff have been working to create new operating procedures for trail maintenance events in order to mitigate public health concerns amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is our goal to resume volunteer projects as soon – and as safely – as possible. Currently trail maintenance is suspended through July 1st, at which point we will evaluate if further suspension is needed.
As the fall maintenance season approaches, we’ll release the staff-supported Volunteer Work Party calendar for the 2020/2021 season, along with new protocols and resources to ensure everyone’s safety. Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to reconnecting with our FTA community this maintenance season!
General:
  • The FTA office in Gainesville remains closed to the public until further notice.
  • View Mandatory Operating Procedures for FTA Chapter Activities here.
The Florida Trail will still be available once this passes; but there is far more we could be losing if we do not take this pandemic seriously. Our collective responsibility is to protect the health of our communities and to reduce the strain on our healthcare system. Thank you for your passion and commitment to the Florida Trail. Together, we’ll do all we can to reduce the spread and severity of COVID-19. We’re wishing you good health and safety during this challenging time.
Recreate Responsibly
#RecreateResponsibly to Protect Yourself, Others & the Outdoors
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives and caused a great deal of uncertainty. Things are changing on a weekly, or even daily, basis. As parks, trails, and forests begin to reopen, it can be confusing to navigate this “new normal” in terms of how to recreate responsibly. The Recreate Responsibly Coalition has guidance to help us all get outdoors safely: https://www.recreateresponsibly.org/
Footprint Magazine
Spring 2020 Edition
Check out our recent Spring 2020 Footprint Magazine Edition! This edition is packed with valuable insights about the Florida Trail and our FTA community including: a breakdown of the FT mileage, a recap of our environmental advocacy efforts at Hike the Hill, a Volunteer Spotlight of former all-star FTA President Leslie Wheeler, hurricane recovery in Econfina WMA, fun crossword puzzles, trail-inspired writing exercises & more!
Check out this edition and past Footprints at: https://www.floridatrail.org/about-us/footprint-magazine/
Support the Great American Outdoors Act
FTA Joins 850+ Organizations Calling on Congress to Pass the Great American Outdoors Act!
GAOA will establish full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Last week, a broad coalition of recreation, conservation, and tourism groups and businesses came together to tell Congress to conserve outdoors spaces and fix our public lands. YOU can add your voice by sending your Members of Congress a message too!
National Trails Day
Saturday, June 6th is National Trails Day (NTD). We’ve temporarily experienced life with limited access to trails and natural space and, now more than ever, we’re all realizing how much we need them.
Join the nationwide movement to perserve trails and fight for equitable access to quality green space, even while social-distancing. Take the National Trails Day pledge today: https://americanhiking.org/national-trails-day/
The American Hiking Society provides easy actions you can take to celebrate and protect our public trails. Everyone who takes the pledge will be entered to win prize packages each week in May and a grand prize after NTD.
Florida Trail Association | 1-877-HIKE-FLA | floridatrail.org