Florida Trail Association

Remembering John Weary

Lake Sentinel Newspaper, November 22, 1998

John Alton Weary
December 19, 1921- January 31, 2000
FTA Board Director
Suncoast & Highlanders Chapter: Board Director, Trail Coordinator, Trail Maintainer, Section Leader

In honor of John’s pioneer efforts as a Florida Trail Maintainer, an FTA volunteer award is presented annually in his name. The John Weary Trail Work Award is presented to members who have made extraordinary efforts as trail maintainers in helping reach our organizational goal of a continuous trail across Florida, and those who have worked diligently in building and maintaining the side and loop trails of the Florida Trail System.

In Remembrance of John Weary
by Bobbi Keenan

John was an accountant born in Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada.  He was a Canadian Air Force veteran of World War II.

John moved to Central Florida in 1965.  He was an avid trail builder and maintainer who volunteered about 1,200 hours a year building and maintaining trails not only for the Florida Trail Association but John also worked in other states and with the American Hiking Society.

He worked as a volunteer trail builder at the Buffalo National River in Arkansas, the Klamath National Forest in northern California and Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior.  He worked with the Appalachian Mountain Club in the White Mountains and hiked and back-packed extensively in many parts of the USA and Canada.

In 1992, the Lake County Water Authority asked John to build the Island Hammock Trail which later was renamed the Daubenmire Trail at Flat Island Preserve in Leesburg. This trail was built with a “low-impact” design with only hand tools to minimize the impact on plants and animals and with all volunteer labor.   With the help of many other volunteers, John also took on the project of building the Green Swamp Trail in the Richloam Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest. This project included upgrading 25 miles of old trail and 9 miles of reroutes and the building of 11 wooden bridges. He was an activity leader, chapter officer for the Suncoast Chapter and later was the first Trail Coordinator for the Highlander’s Chapter.  Many of his work hikes were organized as overnighters with camping and camaraderie. John was totally dedicated to the Florida Trail. He and his wife Judy were appointed Section Leaders for the Island Hammock Trail in April 1993.