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October 2018 E-blaze

October 2018
Trail Skills Training 2018
Trail Skills Training 2018
Community Outreach Manager, Van Tran, writes:
At the end of September, we hosted our 6th Annual Trail Skills Training at Camp La-No-Che in Paisley, Florida. We had our largest turnout of volunteers yet with a total of 61 new and veteran volunteers, 31 who attended the Technical Skills Track and 30 who attended the Wilderness First Aid course.
Wilderness First Aid was taught this year by instructors, Rachel Austin and Catherine Jean of Florida Outdoor Academy (FOA) using SOLO Wilderness Medicine certification and curriculum. We received great feedback that the course was engaging and informative. Although the instructors had a short amount of time to teach a dense amount of information, the students noted that they relayed the information in a fluid way that made the curriculum easy to absorb and retain.
We enjoyed another fun and successful weekend hosting the Technical Skills Track as well. The workshops the FTA team led included: Project Planning & Reporting, Invasive & Poisonous Plants in Florida, Tools of the Trail, Emergency Response, Feeding the Crew, Leave No Trace, GPS & Mapping and an afternoon Mobile Workshop on the Florida Trail. This year, we split the Mobile Workshop into two groups. One group of new volunteers learned the basics of trail maintenance and clearing a corridor while another group of experienced volunteers shared their trail maintenance techniques with each other while reviewing fundamental communication and problem-solving skills for leading a trail crew.
Overall, it was a wonderful Trail Skills Training. It’s inspiring to launch each year’s maintenance season with our community of motivated and passionate trail stewards. A big thank you to all the volunteers who traveled from throughout the state to attend the training.
Western Corridor Puncheon Project
Packing a Punch in the Ocala National Forest
North Florida Trail Manager, Jeff Glenn, writes:
Every once in a while, an opportunity to do great things comes about that is so well-timed it seems that the universe is fully conspiring to make the Florida Trail as amazing as possible. This happened recently on the Western Corridor of the Ocala National Forest, where FTA partnered with the National Forest Foundation, REI, and the Ocala National Forest to replace approximately 6,000 board feet of puncheon. Over the course of 16 days of consecutive work, over 40 individual volunteers worked tirelessly to remove and replace hundreds of tons of puncheon material. This work is as hard as it gets on the FT and the magnitude of this task was monumental. To put this into perspective, these puncheons were installed over the course of 5 years by youth crews almost 20 years ago. FTA volunteers not only removed the completely rotten structures, but installed new ones in their place. This is more than phenomenal, and mere thank you is not enough to all of the incredible volunteers that accomplished the job under the leadership of our hardworking FTA Technical Advisor, Abe Christrian.
The work is not yet complete, with many days scheduled still for December. If this sounds like something that is of interest to you please email Jeff Glenn at jeffg@floridatrail.org. Be prepared to work hard, learn new skills, have a fantastic time, and make a huge difference.
Panhandle Update
Hurricane Michael Recovery
Hurricane damage in Econfina
Panhandle Trail Manager, Adam Fryska, writes:
Work continues in the Florida Panhandle to assess the damage inflicted by Hurricane Michael upon the Florida Trail.
FTA, USFS, and our land management partners are making good progress towards ensuring the Florida Trail is safe and accessible following the tremendous effects of Hurricane Michael. A number of previously closed areas have now been reopened to the public. These include Pine Log State Forest, the Wakulla Ranger District portions of the Apalachicola National Forest, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, and the Aucilla Wildlife Management Area. Although these areas have been reopened for visitor use, conditions along the trail remain difficult. Our volunteers are now beginning the process of performing assessments and planning maintenance work that will continue throughout this field season. If you choose to access the trail in these areas, please be aware of potential hazard trees, and understand that trail conditions will be suboptimal until sawyer crews can clear the many blowdowns resulting from the storm.
At this time, several of the hardest hit sections of the Florida Trail remain closed to all public use. This includes trail within the Econfina and Chipola Water Management Areas, as well as the western sections of the Apalachicola National Forest. The ANF closure currently extends from County Road 12 south of Bristol to the Ochlockonee River along Smith Creek Road.
Please continue to monitor the FTA’s Notice to Hikers page for up-to-date information about current closures and trail conditions.
Seminole State Forest Fencing Project
Closing More Roadwalk
Central/South Florida Trail Manager, Kelly Wiener, writes:
We are thrilled to announce we have broken ground on another roadwalk-closing reroute! The Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation has generously agreed to host a section the Florida Trail, offering a corridor across their land that connects two tracts of Seminole State Forest. Once the reroute is complete, we will be able to close a three mile road walk along SR44 and the Royal Trails development.
At a weekend work party this month, we had 22 volunteers install over 800 feet of fencing along the new corridor to help prevent trespassing. In addition to a great turn out of loyal volunteers from the Highlanders and Central Florida Chapters, we were also excited to see a showing of new volunteers who got involved as a result of attending our recent Trail Skills Training and National Trails Festival. A special thank you to Francis and Bobbi Keenan of the Highlanders Chapter for their above and beyond efforts towards making this reroute possible.
At this time, we are still finalizing our agreement with Seminole State Forest for the remaining sections of this reroute. Stay tuned for more information about this reroute as it develops as well as opportunities to help us install new sections of trail!
National Trails Festival
NTF 2018
The National Trails Festival at the beginning of this month was a tremendous success. Alongside our FTA staff and volunteers, a total of about 400 attendees, presenters, tabling organizations and workshop instructors gathered to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. The weekend was packed with inspiring and informative talks, a diverse array of workshops, shared insight among outdoor enthusiasts and environmental advocates, delicious food, lovely music and smiles all around.
Thank you to all who contributed to this commemorative event!
FTA Board of Directors
Nominations for the Florida Trail Association’s 2019 Board of Directors are now being accepted
Board Director, Megan Eidel, writes:
The call for nominations is now open for Florida Trail Association’s (FTA) 2019 Board of Directors, and we are seeking candidates for at-large Board Member positions.
FTA has a 15-member Board. Nominations may be submitted for President, Vice-President (VP) Development and Outreach, VP Membership, VP Governance, VP Trails, Secretary, and three at-large board members. Terms for officers is two years, and at-large positions is three years, beginning after the annual meeting on April 6, 2019.
The Nominating Committee will select the ballot based on nominations received. A ballot of officers and at-large Board members for 2019 will be voted upon via electronic voting beginning sometime early 2019. In addition to this, we will include a mail-in voting option in the Winter Footprint. The elections will be announced at the April 2019 Annual Meeting.
Serving on FTA’s Board of Directors is a rare chance to help the organization face challenges, provide creative solutions, contribute to a fast-growing trail program, and affect long-term positive change. Board service also offers you the opportunity to grow personally and professionally, to develop valuable skills in non-profit governance, gain unique experience and make lasting connections with a team of other passionate and motivated professionals.
Please consider serving on the Board and submitting a nomination for the 2019 Florida Trail Association Board of Directors. For more information on our current Board of Directors, and Board Member Responsibilities, click here: https://www.floridatrail.org/about-us/ourboard/.
Please send your nominations to Megan Eidel at meganedonoghue@gmail.com.
Nominations should include the following information:
1. Name of Nominee, address and contact information (including email address);
2. Brief statement or cover letter outlining why the nominee would like to be a board member;
3. Resume or Short background on the candidate in question (work history, non-profit experience, involvement with the FTA, interests etc.); and
4. Reference (optional).
Thank You,
Megan Eidel
FTA Nominating Committee Chair
**** NOMINATIONS CLOSE Monday, December 1st, 2018 ****
Florida Trail Association | 1-877-HIKE-FLA | floridatrail.org