FooTprint The Magazine of the Florida Trail Association
The Florida Trail Association develops, maintains, protects and promotes a network of hiking trails throughout the state, including the unique Florida National Scenic Trail. Together with our partners we provide opportunities for the public to hike, engage in outdoor recreation, participate in environmental education and contribute to meaningful volunteer work.
FLORIDA TRAIL ASSOCIATION 5415 SW 13th St Gainesville Fl. 32608-5037 Phone: 352-378-8823 / 877-HIKE-FLA Fax: 352-378-4550 email: email@example.com website: www.floridatrail.org
CONTENTS SPRING 2015
In this issue 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 20 22 24 27 28 30 34 36
Presidentâ€™s Message Volunteer Program News from the North Southern Scoop From the Office 2015 IDIDAHIKE Fundraiser 2015 Annual Conference Observations from the Hill Partnership for the National Trails System Volunteer Spotlight A Day on the Florida Trail 2015 Thru-Hiker Season A Visit with Jim Kern New Members Donor Thank You
Photo Credits Front cover Mike Wade IDIDAHIKE Suwannee River Facing Page Donna Hutchinson Trail Maintenance Chandler Slough This page Leon Meeks Suwannee River Back Cover Elizabeth Taylor-Thomas Ocala National Forest
President’s Message Carlos Schomaker FTA President
One of my favorite highlights of Hike the Hill, the annual Washington, D.C. gathering of National Trail organizations and their Federal agency partners, is meeting the young attendees brought in as advocates by some of those organizations. This February, the Pacific Crest Trail Association sponsored four teens from the Environmental Charter High School (ECHS) in Lawndale, California, a city wedged between Long Beach and Los Angeles. ECHS is a school with rigorous academic standards, one that requires all students to graduate with the coursework necessary for acceptance to a four-year college (about three times the state average). And yet ECHS is not a refuge for kids from elite or affluent neighborhoods. More than 75% of its students are eligible for the Federal free or reduced-price meals program. The majority of its attendees are the first generation in their Making the circle bigger is not easy or family to go to college.
automatic. But it is crucially important. The National Scenic and Historic Trails need broad public support to remain an American priority.
These high school students, two girls and two boys, dressed up in business apparel and attended days of meetings with uppermanagement officials from agencies like the USDA Forest Service and the National Park Service. They also trod the marbled floors of the Congressional office buildings, talking about the importance of trails with US congressional staff from west coast states. They were assisted by their chaperone, ECHS school principal Mandy Breuer, but they spoke up eloquently for themselves in front of rooms of adults that would have intimidated many teens. They talked of doing volunteer work on a National Trail, the impact of that experience on their young lives, and the importance of outdoor access to their communities. They impressed many of us with their commitment and poise. They nearly brought some of those in the meeting rooms to tears. When we talk in platitudes about the work we do for trails as volunteers or professionals, we sometimes mention “future generations” or “our grandchildren” as beneficiaries of that effort. But it can be hard to see concrete examples of the torch being passed on, and that type of narrative can sound more like a wish or a prayer than a plan being implemented. Trail maintainers throughout the country do important, selfless work, but it’s often with others of similar identity (age, race, experience). It’s conventional wisdom that retirees and empty nesters have the time and inclination for this type of volunteer work, while others do not. But is this completely true? Or is some of it due to other factors? Most people, unless they’re naturally extroverted or committed to “spreading the gospel” to new friends, are quite comfortable doing work with others just like themselves. Inspiring and training others takes a conscious effort. Hands-on mechanical work tends to attract people more comfortable with tangible things than touchy-feely concepts about inclusion and outreach. And the natural inclination to create a sense of ownership over things we do out of love (like volunteering) can evolve into feelings of exclusion for others, others who we believe don’t know or understand enough to be worthy of our time and effort to get them involved. At its extreme, it can lead to feelings that a resource that’s publicly owned belongs to us alone. And, yes, like everywhere else, this happens in trail communities.
As you look through this issue of the Footprint, pay attention to examples of the proactive effort required to make the circle bigger. You’ll read about Federal agency programs to get kids outside. You’ll find an FTA chapter hosting a fundraising hike that brings in money and new supporters. And you may see programmatic volunteer events that attract specific new supporters, like college students on school break. All these projects, and many others, further the Florida Trail Association’s mission, a charge shared by all the groups that attended Hike the Hill. Making the circle bigger is not easy or automatic. But it is crucially important. The National Scenic and Historic Trails, as well as countless others, need broad public support to remain an American priority. One of the reasons that National Scenic Trail organizations hire field staff is to ensure that a constant effort is made to garner new public engagement and volunteer support, training, and leadership. As those ECHS students proved at National Trail meetings in February, it takes commitment to include a wide spectrum of people in the great outdoors. But isn’t that one reason why we said we’re doing this? For the future?
Did you know you can now easily spread your donation to FTA across several months or years? On the home page of the FTA website simply click on the big blue DONATE button. The next page asks for the donation amount, then allows you to indicate whether it is a one time donation, monthy, quarterly, or annually. By making a small recurring donation you can manage your own budget yet still have a big impact on FTA’s future. And there is no need to worry about filling out forms or remembering to mail a check to FTA every month. If you choose to set up a recurring donation you will also set your own password which allows you to access your payment account at any time. That way you can increase or decrease the amount or even cancel the account at any time. The donations portion of our website is backed by Network for Good, the leading giving platform for non-profit organizations. Network For Good is currently running a contest among non-profits which FTA is participating in. The non-profit with the highest percentage of new recurring donations will receive a reward from Network for Good. So please consider putting your donation to FTA on a recurring basis. You decide the amount, you decide the frequency, you control your account, and FTA will reap the benefits.
VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MEGAN DONOGHUE VOLUNTEER PROGRAM COORDINATOR
US VETERANS FIND THIER WAY ON THE FLORIDA TRAIL “During my hike I realized that hiking a long-distance trail would be a great opportunity for veterans to transition from service.” Sean Gobin, founder and executive director of Warrior Hike, returned home in 2012 after three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon separating from the Marine Corps, Gobin decided to hike the 2,185 mile Appalachian Trail. During his hike, he realized that a similar experience would greatly help other war veterans transition into life as civilians. Sean Gobin’s transformational hike led to the creation of Warrior Hike’s “Walk Off The War” program. The program facilitates veterans on thru-hikes of National Scenic Trails throughout the country. It provides support, equipment and supplies required to complete these hikes. “Walk Off The War” also coordinates with veteran organizations and local communities to provide the veterans with a positive experience. “The ability to connect with veterans from past wars can give a unique impression of life after coming home,” says Gobin. “Meeting all of these great people along the way can reestablish that faith in humanity that you may have lost in the battlefield.” So far the program has provided support for veterans hiking six of the eleven National Scenic Trails: The Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and, more recently, the Arizona Trail, Ice Age Trail and Florida Trail. Two veterans are currently making their way across Florida, making them the first Warrior Hikers to officially hike the Florida Trail.
Rick and Daniel pause on their thruhike for a photo with UF Alternative Spring Break trail maintenance crew volunteers on the FT
Rick Cardona, from Deltona, FL, served in the US Army as an Armor Crewman from 2010-2013. Daniel Parkison, from St. Petersburg, FL, also served in the US Army as an Infantryman from 2000-2003. Rick was deployed in Iraq, while Daniel served in Afghanistan.
Rick and Daniel started their thru-hike in Big Cypress National Preserve, the southern terminus of the Florida Trail. They are making the most of their experience by stopping at various veteran organizations along the way. The veterans are making their way into the Panhandle and are scheduled to finish their hike in Pensacola on April 4.
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, about 11-20 percent of veterans who served in the era of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Department claims there are over 1.5 million veterans residing in the Sunshine State, including more than 1.1 million wartime vets from current and past conflicts. Gobin describes long distance hiking as an opportunity to have time and space to decompress. “The act of taking months on end, hiking 8 hours a day in nature – no cell phone, no TV, no computer – it gives you the opportunity to decide what’s important in life and what you want to do next.” He also believes that the experience provides a mini support group when hiking with other veterans, as well as creates connections that provide potential opportunities for life after the trail. So what’s the future of Warrior Hike? Expansion. In the next few years, Warrior Hike’s program will grow to include more trails, with the goal of covering every US state. Additionally, Gobin plans on providing expeditions that injured veterans can experience. Paddling down the Mississippi River and cycling across the country are plans on the drawing board. To learn more about Warrior Hike and the “Walk Off the War” program, see www.warriorhike.org. Follow Rick and Daniel’s Florida Trail hike on Warrior Hike’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter sites: www.facebook.com/warriorhike www.instagram.com/warriorhike www.twitter.com/warriorhike
NEWS FROM THE NORTH JEFF GLENN NORTH REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
Winter is always the busiest time of the year, and trail projects are happening one after another all over the region. Our chapter-led projects, staff-led Volunteer Work Parties, Community Training Works crews, and FTA Technical Advisors all left the trail in great shape for the hiking season. Along the Suwannee River, through the Osceola National Forest, down through the Keystone Heights area, across the Cross Florida Barge Canal, and down into the Ocala National Forest, the trail is open, well-marked, and clear for hikers. According to long-time trail maintainer Carl Rodkey, “In the 40 years that I’ve been working on the Ocala, the trail has never looked this good!” Our volunteers, new and longstanding FTA members, should be extremely proud of this, and I, for one, applaud all of you. There are lots of trail updates to note. Here are some highlights:
The trail in Camp Blanding now skirts lovely Lost Pond. Ocala National Forest As mentioned above, the Florida Trail in the Ocala National Forest looks excellent, thanks to the dedication of many long-time trail maintainers as well as a whole slew of new volunteers, students, and members of the American Hiking Society. The Black Bear Chapter of the FTA (formerly Halifax-St John) showed complete dedication to their trail this season, coming together for four Volunteer Work Parties to complete just the eastern corridor of the FNST. They have also spent many more hours on the western corridor. The Juniper Wilderness got a much-needed deep cleaning this season with 2 full weeks of work plus an additional 3 student groups from Gainesville and several days of work by the FTA seasonal trail staff. All of that effort shows, and it will be enjoyed by the thousands of hikers that pass through it each hiking season.
Trail Re-route through Camp Blanding Due to the removal of the trail from the Keystone Airpark several years ago, the trail became an out-and-back hike, and a road walk down busy State Road 21 was required to bypass the closed section. Just recently, thanks to the determination and hard work of several key volunteers from the North Florida Trail Blazers chapter of the FTA, and with a strong alliance with the staff at Camp Blanding, a new section of trail is now open along the south side of Magnolia Lake, thereby eliminating 3 miles of road walk along SR 21 and opening up the whole Camp Blanding section to thru traffic. The hope is that in the future, the trail through the Airpark will re-open, but until then hikers have a beautiful new trail that keeps them off the highway and in the forest.
The Tropical Conservation and Development Program from UF came to volunteer in Juniper Wilderness for the 2nd year in a row.
The Trilogy School spent a day clearing trail in the Juniper Wilderness No Name Creek Along the Suwannee River, just west of Jerry Branch, hikers encountered a section of trail that was eroded, slippery, steep, and held a washedout bridge. On the map there was never a name for this place, so it was dubbed â€œNo Name Creekâ€? by the Florida Cracker Chapter of the FTA many years ago. This season, thanks to the hard work of many, including the Community Training Works crew, a US Forest Service-contracted Conservation Corps, FTA staff, and volunteers, the trail was re-routed and rebuilt in a sustainable fashion including a very impressive timber crib staircase. The trail is built to last years and offers a significantly safer route for hikers. There have been many other work parties this season in places like Buck Lake on the Ocala National Forest, Etoniah Creek State Forest, Rice Creek Conservation Area, Osceola National Forest, and along the Suwannee near White Springs. A lot of this was only made possible by the fantastic seasonal staff that worked for FTA this season. Huge thanks go to Matt Kirk, Alex Duwe, and Mason Floyd for being such great crew leaders, chefs, mechanics, and friends to all of us! They will be spending the month of March in the Panhandle region, working with the same great enthusiasm they have shown for the past 5 months. As always, the Florida Trail community amazes me with its spirit, camaraderie, and passion for conservation work. We should all be proud of what we do, whether it is on the trail, in the office, the boardroom, or in our chapters.
CTW crew member Abbey Toomer shows off their work during the construction at No Name Creek
Enjoy the rest of the hiking season!
SOUTHERN SCOOP ALEX STIGLIANO CENTRAL/SOUTH REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
2015 Big Cypress Volunteer work party offers something for everyone Nearly every morning throughout the cooler months, dedicated FTA volunteers are likely to be found assembling at a trailhead somewhere along the Florida National Scenic Trail. They will be holding loppers, handsaws, paintbrushes, brush cutters & chainsaws—equipped to maintain sections of the 1,300 mile long footpath. It’s an essential gift of time and energy from our community that allows the trail to remain accessible for everyone from year to year. But what motivates them? Many of our readers know the deep satisfaction that one feels returning to one’s car after hours spent removing obstructions, beautifying corridors, and improving routes along the trail. Being the first person to walk along a freshly maintained trail is a priceless experience that creates a profound connection to the land, a feeling that keeps folks coming back for years. David Denham is one such volunteer. He has been maintaining the southern end of the FNST in Big Cypress National Preserve (BICY) for over 3 decades. I was fortunate enough to spend several days with David and 8 other devoted volunteers during the FTA’s annual BICY Volunteer Work Party, February 6-13. Basing a week of trail maintenance from the remote and rugged “Deer Skull Camp”—lovingly named by long-time volunteer Karen Hileman—was not a walk in the park, though from David’s seasoned perspective, we had it easy:
“The FNST (at least from Oasis to 13-Mile Camp) is in better condition than I have ever seen after nearly 40 years of hiking on it. Water is dropping rapidly, and the Trail is dry the whole way to at least a few miles north 10-Mile Camp. The temperature is starting to warm up, so now is the time to make that traverse from Tamiami Trail to I-75.”
Even with these unprecedented bluebird conditions, one has to appreciate our BICY 2015 crew for their commitment. One might also wonder — after 8 days of hard labor in the backcountry with no showers or any of the other comforts of home — “are these people insane?!” Bryan Davis is a youthful retiree from Coral Springs, FL who is looking to begin a second or third career. His motivation is a combination of practical and altruistic factors:
“From the retiree’s perspective, typically we have been working for the better part of 20 or even 30 years at a given profession. Now as retirees, many of us want to get out and do something new and to use the time we have to make a difference. Some call this “giving back.” Volunteering can also be a source of learning new skill sets. A prime example is that I recently received trail maintenance and wilderness first aid training from the FTA. Whether as a person seeking an encore career or as a person trying to find or build a new career, this sort of benefit can be invaluable.”
Sydney “Squid” Snyder is a 25 year old volunteer from Washington State at the beginning of her career. She works half of the year as an Interpretive Ranger in Big Cypress National Preserve, and the other half as a Backcountry Ranger in Olympic National Park. This was her second year volunteering on the annual BICY project. Squid dedicates time to working with the FTA in BICY because she wants to “indirectly encourage public use and exploration of our
regional public lands by maintaining the trail.” She is also a fan of our FTA community:
“The best part of a multi-generational work crew is the abundance and diversity of experience. Seasoned volunteers have invaluable technical trail knowledge to impart and the stories they share on the trail or over delicious dinners are captivating. Hearing life adventures (and sometimes amusing blunders) of older volunteers inspires me to be more creative in career trajectories.”
Reading this quote, I can’t help but think Squid is referring at least in part to the hour or so we spent one night listening to David Denham relate a wonderful story — the tale of an epic 7-month journey he and some friends took from Scandinavia to Kathmandu in the summer of 1969. I can’t do the saga justice here, but let me just tell you that it included David delivering his first child in a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. Yes, you read that correctly. And yes, definitely ask David about it. So why do FTA volunteers dedicate literally thousands of hours each year (39,299 in 2014) to working on trails throughout Florida? It’s hard to distill into one or two reasons, because the explanations are as unique as our volunteers. I can only suggest that you find a volunteer work party in your area and discover the joy of trail maintenance for yourself!
from the office DIANE STRONG ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
It has been a VERY packed “busy season” here at FTA headquarters. New members and even non-members call and want to talk about hiking and making exciting plans. The general public stops in to peruse maps for their next adventure. I receive and file the Assumption of Risk forms, detailing so many enviable activities, none of which I’ve had time to join. But on February 21st I was able to do the IDIDAHIKE! After “roughing it” in an Econo-Lodge in Lake City, with a lobster dinner under our belts and fortified by a sinful breakfast on Saturday morning, we set off for White Springs. I was accompanied by Betty Rushton, one of our most dependable, gracious and fun office volunteers, and my Aussie-Poo, Jesse Jane. I carried a daypack and a leash for Jesse. The terrain was amazing. The North Florida Trailblazers did a great job of organizing this benefit hike. A person could get really lost out there without direction! Fortunately, I have no problem taking direction. By mile five, my toenails were talking to me. By mile seven, I was talking back to them. New shoes? Thicker socks? This conversation continued until we got back to civilization in White Springs, where we were all met by the Mayor, Dr. Helen Miller, who served us her delicious homemade banana pudding. Then the three of us had a quiet drive back to Gainesville. It was a beautiful, well-spent day outdoors. Thanks to everyone who helped organize this fundraising event for FTA. We had a blast! NEWS YOU CAN USE Many of you who call the office looking for certain sizes of FTA shirts have been disappointed recently. You know who you are! We have had few t-shirts in small, medium and XXL sizes. Your concerns have been addressed. The latest FTA shirt and our long- and short-sleeved crew shirts are now fully stocked in the lesser and greater sizes. Call me! I hope to hear back from many of you soon.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THE 2015 SOUTHERN REGIONAL CONFERENCE OCTOBER 16- 18, 2015 Riverside Retreat
7305 County Rd. 78 LaBelle, FL 33935
Ensure the Florida Trailâ€™s Future. Remember the Florida Trail Association in your will. Contact FTA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (352) 378-8823. 13
TrailBlazer’s ididahike raises $3000 for fta By linda benton, janie hamilton and waLTER bryant Photos by Cary beuerhausen, Janie Hamilton & Mike wade, The seventh Annual IDIDAHIKE was held on February 21, 2015 in White Springs. This hike is an annual fundraiser for the Florida Trail Association organized by the North Florida Trailblazers chapter. Participants donated $20 for a supported hike, which included a bus shuttle to the beginning of the route so they could walk back to their vehicles and an optional barbeque lunch. This year’s hike was on the Florida Trail along the Suwannee River between Bell Springs and the town of White Springs. Preparation began months ago for route planning, event publicity, developing support from the local community, and collecting items for goodie bags and door prizes. During the week leading up to the hike, volunteer activity ramped up when we had a lot of rain and parts of the trail were under water due to Suwannee River flooding. But by the day of the hike, the water had receded and there were only a few wet spots which were easily covered with temporary materials. You may be wondering why the hikers would mind getting their feet a little wet. But some of the people who come to this annual hike have never been hiking in the woods and many more are inexperienced. Although our main goal is to raise money for Florida Trail, we also want to provide a good experience for would-be hikers so they will come back again and again. The third week of February had some of the coldest days of the year, but Saturday was perfect for hiking – a little cool in the morning, but in the upper 60’s by mid-day. Registration began at the Nature and Heritage Tourism Center at 8 a.m., with the last bus taking hikers to the trailhead leaving the Center a little after 10. Aid stations with water, snacks, portolets, and first aid were placed at 3.5 miles and 5.5 miles, and hikers could also be shuttled back to the Center at these points if they didn’t want to hike any further. But almost everyone hiked the entire 8.5 miles! Hikers were welcomed back at the Tourism Center with music on the porch and the tantalizing smell of a barbecue dinner. They signed out, received their goodie bag and checked to see if they won one of the several nice door prizes. About 160 hikers participated with another 15 volunteer workers also paying the $20 donation. We raised almost $3,000 which will be sent to the Florida Trail office in Gainesville. Dr. Helen Miller and Bill Lawrence, the Mayor and Town Manager of White Springs, went out of their way to accommodate the event and were involved both with the planning and running of the IDIDAHIKE. Dr. Miller made a wonderful banana pudding for the barbecue dinner and they both worked all day during the event serving up great southern hospitality for all the hikers and volunteers. Serveral local organizations including the Suwannee Bicycle Association had booths in the picnic area at the Center. Thanks to the following volunteers who made this event such a success: Linda Benton, Cary Beuershausen, Deb Blick, Aaron Bowen, Barbara Bradley, Christy Breeden, Walter Bryant, Toni Greenberg, Janie Hamilton, Joel and Kathy Hickox, Al Janosz, Hank Jinks, Linda Johnson, Joanne Lechner, Robin Luger, Karon McIntyre, Leon Meeks, Mitch Sapp, Kevin and Gloria Sedgewick, Judy Trotta, Mike Wade, Mary Alice Westrick and Leslie Wheeler. For more photos, visit our Meetup site at www.meetup.com/NorthFloridaTrailBlazers/photos/25807404/
The 2015 FTA ANNUAL CONFEReNCE April 9 - 12, 2015 Life Enrichment Center 4991 Picciola Road Fruitland Park, FL 32731 ONLINE REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! www.floridatrail.org/2015-annual-conference
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: State of the trail report Florida Scrub Jays Managing a State Forest Leave No Trace Priciples Legislative Wrap-up Strengthening Chapters Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge Canal Survival: What’s in Your PMA Creating a Team Natural Communities along the Trail Campfire Camaraderie How to Hike the FT Growing Your Membership How to ID Birds Plus Raffle, Silent Aution, Outcry Auction and Awards Ceremony
Deadline for pre-registration is April 6. Deadline for meal orders is April 1. Check-in will begin at 3 pm on the Thursday afternoon before the conference, for those wishing to arrive on April 9. We’ll enjoy two full days of hiking and workshops April 10 & 11. Check-out will be Sunday morning, April 12. Double occupancy motel-style lodgings with linens provided, plus tent and RV camping. Buffet-style dining room with salad and fruit bar
Florida Trail Association
Building, Maintaining, Promoting, and Protecting
The Florida Trail
FTA Annual Conference 2015 --- April 9 - 12, 2015
REGISTRATION FORM Please fill out all information on both sides of this form. Registration (select 1 for each participant):
Youth (under 16)
Day use site fee (no overnight stay in camp)
Tent site - Thursday night
Tent site - Friday night
Tent site - Saturday night
RV site / small, no hookups - Thursday night
RV site / small, no hookups - Friday night
RV site / small, no hookups - Saturday night
RV site / full hookups - Thursday night
RV site / full hookups - Friday night
RV site / full hookups - Saturday night
Lodge room - Thursday night
Lodge room - Friday night
Lodge room - Saturday night
Friday Cafeteria Lunch
Friday Box Lunch (for hikers)
On-Site Options - Overnight options allow for up to two people per tent/RV. Rooms are double occupancy / only one roomate should pay. (Enter 1 per site/room): 0.00
Saturday Cafeteria Lunch
Saturday Box Lunch (for hikers)
TOTAL ENCLOSED: Pre-registration ends April 6. Cancellation fee is $35 if you cancel by April 1, 2015. Deadline for meal orders is April 1, 2015 . Please fill out all information on both sides of this form.
Florida Trail Association
Building, Maintaining, Promoting, and Protecting
The Florida Trail
FTA Annual Conference 2015 --- April 9 - 12, 2015
REGISTRATION FORM Please fill out all information on both sides of this form. Pre-registration ends April 6. Cancellation fee is $35 if you cancel by April 1, 2015. Deadline for meal orders is April 1, 2015 . Please PRINT names of ALL participants attending as you would like the names to appear on the name badges: Name(s): Street Address: City/State/Zip: Daytime Telephone: Email: FTA Member?
If staying in lodge room, name of roommate:
One registration form per family or individual, please.
Make Check Payable to: FLORIDA TRAIL ASSOCIATION Mail to: Florida Trail Association, 5415 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL 32608
Questions about the Registration Form? Call 877-HIKE-FLA or email: email@example.com To pay by credit card, please register on the FTA website at www.floridatrail.org
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Observations from the hill by Carlos Schomaker
Hike the Hill, the annual conference of National Scenic and Historic Trail organizations with their Federal agency partners and legislators, hit our nation’s capital early this February. Here are some observations from that event: As expected, these days the political quagmire of Washington extends to the “trail receptiveness” of various legislators. Some of them (their staffers, at least) are very eager to hear about and even support National Trails funding; others probably wonder why we’re not drilling faster for natural resources on our trails. (A more cynical take is that they wonder why we aren’t bringing a campaign check!) This year’s event, unlike recent ones, did not include hosting a “trail caucus” reception for the few congressmen who consistently and openly champion National Scenic and Historic Trails. That’s not to say that efforts haven’t been taken to increase support for our trails. A bipartisan bill to direct the US Forest Service (USFS) to plan for more volunteers and partners (HR 845, The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act) was reintroduced the same week as Hike the Hill, garnering sponsorship from seven Western and Midwestern House members. It went to committee, where it may move forward or die from neglect. It’s being supported strongly by the Back Country Horsemen of America (yes, horses are allowed on some National Trails!). Keep in mind that this bill was also introduced and killed last year. The President’s proposed budget calls for establishing a dedicated disaster fund to pay for fighting wildfires, which currently eat up USFS funds intended for other uses. Similarly, bills in both Houses (Wildfire Disaster Funding Act) attempt to address the problem by treating fires as natural disasters. Our Florida USFS partners regularly face the threat of funds being “fire borrowed” for these emergencies, especially in the Western US, so it’s encouraging to see efforts to address that impact. A perennial issue for National Trails is ensuring re-authorization and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Since its birth half a century ago, LWCF has been an important tool for ensuring protection, access, and maintenance of our publicly-managed forests, recreation areas, parks, trails, wildlife refuges, and historic sites like Civil War battlefields. It has also provided matching funds for grants that support many state and local “parks & rec” projects. The primary source for LWCF has been royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling. The money has often been diverted by Congress for other uses (a similar problem lurks here in Florida with the passage of last year’s Amendment 1). But over the past five decades, LWCF has conserved more than five million acres of parks, forests, and other lands through the federal program, and more than 2.6 million acres in various state communities. Another tool is the Forest Legacy Program (FLP), which helps states conserve working private forests that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. FLP has prevented the loss of almost two million acres of forest in 42 states and leveraged an equal amount of state, local, and private funding for every federal dollar spent. Currently a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter, one that LWCF-friendly legislators can pass on to their fellows, is circulating. It urges the House’s Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee to provide robust LWCF funding in fiscal year 2016. Signed by (at this writing) at least nine congressmen, including Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA), it is supported by PNTS and its member trail organizations, including FTA. Bill HR 781, this year’s version of the “Complete America’s Great Trails Act”, would amend the IRS tax code to “allow a credit against income tax for qualified conservation contributions which include National Scenic Trails”. A similar proposal died ignobly in the previous Congress. So too did the “National Scenic Trail Parity Act” bill, which sought to treat NPS-managed trails as separate National Park units (this doesn’t apply to USFS-managed trails such as ours, although a more exalted status within the Forest Service’s universe of concerns would probably be welcome!).
Hike the Hill is also an important opportunity to meet with high-level representatives from the Federal land managers of our National Trails. There are inter-agency meetings, and others involve single agencies, or even smaller, more trail-specific groups (for example, Jonathan Stevens of the USFS met with our Florida USFS administrator and FTA). While there are challenges to surmount, it is clear that everyone at these meetings wants to do right by America’s Trails. Smart, passionate professionals are working to help ensure our national heritage is preserved for the future. They’re thinking of ways to build nationwide, multigenerational support for our wild and natural spaces and trails. Some highlights: --- Our friends at the National Park Service(NPS), where the Florida Trail begins and ends, are celebrating their Centennial next year, and are gearing up for a party they hope will inspire another century of action. Strong NPS initiatives include “Every Kid in a Park”, focused on America’s 4th graders (www.nationalparks.org/ook/everykid-in-a-park), and the “Find Your Park” campaign. Find out more about the NPS Centennial at www.nps.gov/ centennial, or at www.nationalparks.org/centennial. --- Bob Ratcliffe, Chief of Conservation and Outdoor Recreation at NPS, laid out the agency’s “Play, Learn, Serve, Work” paradigm for youth engagement. Working with various organizations allows NPS to introduce young people to nature in ways that inspire them to be land stewards. The program’s goals are lofty. They want to have 10 million youngsters Play and Learn. They want one million of them to Serve as volunteers, and to eventually have 100,000 of them find Work, through options like the 21st Century Conservation Corps. --- The US Forest Service is also on board. Michiko Martin, their Conservation Education Program Director, detailed the USFS’ “Discover the Forest” initiative (www.discovertheforest.org), green and youth “ambassador” programs, and other efforts to engage new generations of stewards. As an aside, Michiko is a US Naval Academy graduate who also worked at NOAA. Anyone doubting the positive drive and professionalism of the people charged with managing America’s shared natural resources should meet her, or any of the many great people who met with our National Trail leaders.] ---While they have less direct impact on our Florida Trail, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Fish & Wildlife Service are also very active in expanding public participation. BLM, for example, hosts a program called “Hands on the Land”, which emphasizes outdoor classroom environments (www.handsontheland.org). Sometimes BLM initiatives influence what NPS and USFS do, as there is some cross-pollination of ideas, especially at events like Hike the Hill. Each of these agencies is tasked with different mandates for their lands, but National Scenic and Historic Trails traverse them all. These initiatives help ensure long-term public support for the conservation of America’s outdoor spaces, and for its network of National Trails. FTA’s own articles of incorporation stated a desire “to instill in Floridians an appreciation of, and a desire to conserve, the natural beauty of Florida”. It makes sense to follow new ideas that build a wider dedication to our cause. Another reason to attend Hike the Hill is to learn from other National Trail groups. Informal discussions reveal their triumphs, challenges, and tactics and strategies. Every trail faces threats, such as the damaging effect of oil and gas fracking facilities on the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail. Every National Trail has opportunities. The North Country National Scenic Trail’s Arrowhead Re-route, for example, will require legislative action, even though it enjoys a wide degree of support. And as was mentioned earlier, these days legislative action doesn’t come easy. FTA and its partners are part of a larger community striving to offer all Americans an amazing variety of National Scenic and Historic Trails. Here they can get back in touch with their souls, get exercise, get adventure or serenity, learn or teach or explore the wonders of nature, and contribute to the common good. Hike the Hill is an important part of keeping FTA involved in that dream.
the PARTNERSHIP for the national trail system The National Trails System was created by the enactment of the National Trails System Act on October 2, 1968. The Act created a series of National Trails â€œto promote the preservation of, public access to, travel within, and enjoyment and appreciation of the open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources of the Nation.â€? Specifically, the Act authorized three types of trails: National Scenic Trails, National Recreation Trails and connecting-and-side trails. The Act also created two National Scenic Trails, the Appalachian and the Pacific Crest, and requested that an additional fourteen trail routes be studied for possible later inclusion. In 1978, as a result of the study of trails that were most significant for their historic value, a fourth category of trail was added: the National Historic Trails. Since 1968, over forty trail routes have been studied for inclusion in the system. Of these studied trails, twenty-one have been established as part of the system. Today, the National Trails System consists of 30 National Scenic and Historic Trails, over 1,000 National Recreation Trails and two connecting-and-side trails, with a total length of more than 50,000 miles. All allow hiking, and depending on location and suitability, many have sections open for horseback riding, mountain biking and camping. The Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail or Ice Age Floods Trail was designated as the first National Geologic Trail in the United States in 2009. It runs through parts of Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon states, and is administered by the National Park Service. National Scenic Trails (NSTs) are established to provide access to spectacular natural beauty and to allow the pursuit of healthy outdoor recreation. The National Scenic Trail system provides access to the crest of the Appalachian Mountains in the east on the Appalachian Trail, to the Rocky Mountains of the west on the Continental Divide Trail. You can experience the subtle beauties of the southern wetlands and Gulf Coast on the Florida Trail or wander the North Woods from New York to Minnesota on the North Country Trail or experience the vast diversity of landscapes of the southwest on the Arizona National Scenic Trail. There are eleven national scenic trails designated in the United States. Appalachian NST, Ice Age NST Pacific Crest NST
Arizona NST Natchez Trace NST Pacific Northwest NST
Continental Divide NST New England NST Potomac Heritage NST
Florida NST North Country NST
As Congressionally established long-distance trails, each one is administered by a federal agency - the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Forest Service, or the National Park Service. Two of the trails are jointly administered by the BLM and the NPS. Occasionally, these agencies acquire lands to protect key sites, resources and viewsheds. More often than not, they work in partnership with the states, local units of government, land trusts and private landowners, to protect lands and structures along these trails, enabling them to be accessible to the public. National Recreation Trails and connecting-and-side trails do not require Congressional action, but are recognized by actions of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture. All of the National Trails are supported by private non-profit organizations that work with the various federal agencies under the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS). The Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) connects member nonprofit trail organizations and federal agency partners to further the protection, completion, and stewardship of the 30 National Scenic and Historic Trails within the National Trails System. FTA is a member of the PNTS. The Partnership for the National Trails System was established in 1995 to facilitate interaction and cooperation among the various private groups and government agencies involved with the National Trails System. The Partnership sponsors the annual Conference on National Scenic and Historic Trails. The conference aims to promote visionary and strategic thinking and collaboration for the national trails system. It also provides training
in organizational development, budgeting, and planning techniques. The Partnership for the National Trails System represents the collective interests of the organizations of trail volunteers working in partnership with federal agencies to preserve, protect, develop and maintain Americaâ€™s 19 national scenic and historic trails. PNTS is also ramping up for the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act in 2018 with the â€œDecade for the National Trails Systemâ€? project. Activities, projects, and initiatives undertaken during the â€œDecade for the National Trailsâ€? will make the National Trails System fully available to Americans and international guests. These initiatives will also permanently preserve trail resources and assure that dedicated public and private partnerships have the enduring capacity to sustain the trails for many years into the future.
SPRINGFIELD Ozark Cavefish NWR
Coronado NF Tumacacori NHP
Pea Ridge NMP
Ozark NF Ozark NF
OKLAHOMA CITY Sequoyah NWR
Mark Twain NF
Chamizal N MEM
To central Mexico
FOR T SE
NATIONAL SCENIC TRAIL
See inset map below
3 5 VIRGINIA BEACH
e dg WINSTONRi ELKIN SALEM 40
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH CHESAPEAKE NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
OVERMOUNTAIN VICTORY NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
Nantahala Cowpens NF NB
Kings Mountain NMP
BALTIMORE DOVER 16 2 ANNAPOLIS WASHINGTON, D.C.
RICHMOND WILLIAMSBURG 12 3 11 5 6 15 VIRGINIA BEACH 9 NORFOLK
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
NATI ONA L
Apalachicola NF Gulf Islands NS
Chesapeake Bay area National Wildlife Refuges
SELMA TO MONTGOMERY NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
CLEVELAND CHATTANOOGA Chattahochee NF
M ICHIGAN LAKE
Te n nessee
ELIZABETHTON JOHNSON CITY Cherokee NF
81 Great Smoky Mountains NP
SC E N
St. Marks NWR
FLORIDA Ocala NF
San Antonio Missions NHP
Blackwater Eastern Neck Eastern Shore Of Virginia Featherstone Fisherman Island James River Martin Mason Neck Nansemond Occoquan Bay Plum Tree Island Presquile Rappahannock River Valley Susquehanna
National Park sites 15 Colonial NHP 16 Fort McHenry NM 17 George Washington Birthplace NM 18 Piscataway Park 19 Prince William Forest Park 20 Richmond NBP
EL CAMINO REAL DE LOS TEJAS NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
Chickamauga and Chattanooga HUNTSVILLE NMP
L AI TR
White River NWR
Stones River NB
To Mexico City
Tennessee NWR Chickasaw NWR
Lower Hatchie NWR
Fort Smith NHS Holla Bend NWR Ouachita LITTLE ROCK NF
EL CAMINO REAL DE TIERRA ADENTRO NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
HISTORIC TR AIL
AL ON ATI S N EAR OF T TRAIL W
ROANOKE Shawnee Cypress NF Creek NWR
Ohio River Islands NWR
BALTIMORE DOVER Harpers 70 16 2 Ferry ANNAPOLIS NHP WASHINGTON, D.C. George Washington 10 8 STAR-SPANGLED BANNER Memorial 1 18 NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL PKWY 19 4 7 17 13 POTOMAC HERITAGE CHARLOTTESVILLE
Shenandoah NP 81 George Washington NF
ST. LOUIS Jefferson National Expansion MEM
AC HI AN
Fort Larned NHS
n d ia na Ca
Two Rivers NWR 70
INDEPENDENCE Big Muddy NWR
Bentâ€™s Old Fort NHS Comanche NG
O HIS T
S CE NIC
CUMBERLAND Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP
Independence NHP PHILADELPHIA WILMINGTON
WASHINGTON-ROCHAMBEAU REVOLUTIONARY ROUTE NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
IC EN SC
NEW YORK CITY
Wallkill River NWR
Delaware Water Gap NRA 80
INDIANAPOLIS DAYTON 57
Swan Lake NWR
ATCHISON KANSAS CITY
Allegheny NF 79
Boston Harbor Islands NRA BOSTON
NAUVOO Squaw Creek NWR
NEW ENGLAND NATIONAL SCENIC TRAIL
NEW YORK Finger Lakes NF
Desoto NWR Boyer Chute NWR COUNCIL BLUFFS
Finger Lakes ITHACA
T R AI L
Fort Stanwix NM
Gr ee n
Bosque Del Apache NWR
NAT ION AL
TR AI L S
HIS TO R
El Malpais NM
ON T A
White Mountain NF
Green Mountain NF
Fort Union NM
NA T IO
Santa Fe NF
IT E M D ST EX IC ATE O S
M i ss i s sip
Santa Fe NF
S CENIC TRAIL
O ST HI
AIL TR ICCibola
Great Sand Dunes NP
Ark ans as
San Isabel NF
AUGUSTA Hiawatha NF
Rio Grande NF
Pictured Rocks NL
TIONAL ICE A GE NA
Mi ssi ss
NA IO AT
Karl E. Mundt NWR
Only national park, forest areas, and wildlife refuges that relate to the National Trails System are shown.
r ou ss
FLAGSTAFF Walnut Canyon NM
Bureau of Land Management
S UP ERIOR
Whittlesey AL SCE N I C Creek ON C DULUTH NWR ATI Ottawa OU N N T RY NF
San Bernardino NF
San Juan NF
Lake Mead NRA
Curecanti NRA Glen Canyon NRA
Kaibab NF Grand Canyon NP
White River NF
Dixie NF ST. GEORGE
Mojave N PRES
RI TO Toiyabe HIS NF AL ION LAS VEGAS N AT SH NI PA
Santa Monica Mountains NRA LOS ANGELES
Fish Springs NWR
A ZON ARI
North Platte NWR
Chimney Rock NHS
CHEYENNE Roosevelt NF Rocky Mountain NP BOULDER
Lake Andes NWR
Scotts Bluff NM
Medicine Bow NF Routt NF
Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes NWR Los U Padres NF T SANTA BARBARA
Wasatch SALT LAKE NF CITY
Death Valley NP
Fort Laramie NHS
SAN LUIS OBISPO
Sierra NF Kings Canyon NP Sequoia NP
5 MONTEREY Pinnacles NM Los Padres NF
Ft Pierre NG
Cokeville Meadows NWR
Devils Postpile NM
Great Salt Lake
The four trails shown here as separate lines actually follow the same route in much of Nebraska and Wyoming.
84 Curlew Bear Lake NWR NG
City of Rocks N RES
Teton Caribou NF NF Grays Lake NWR
Ruby Lake NWR
Long Lake NWR
NEZ PERCE (NEE-ME-POO) NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
RIC TO HIS
NAL TIO NA
Stanislaus STOCKTON NF Golden Gate NRA
ATIONAL HIS PONY EXPRESS N TORI C
SAN FRANCISCO OAKLAND
RENO CARSON CITY
IL H I S T O RIC TRA
Knife River Indian Villages NHS
Lake Ilo NWR
N NATI O
Yell o w s t o
IA RN FO LI
Lassen Volcanic NP
Little Missouri NG
Hagerman Fossil Beds NM
Big Hole NB
Charles M. Russell NWR
Lee Metcalf NWR Lewis and Clark Lolo NF NF HELENA Deer Lodge Helena NF NF
AIL TR IC OR e ST ak HI Sn
L NA TIO NA
C Shasta NF
Fort Union Trading Post NHS
K D CLAR IS AN LEW
ON EG OR
Deer Flat NWR Winema NF Bear Valley NWR Lower Klamath NWR Tule Lake NWR Clear Lake NWR
Crater Lake NP
Rogue River NF
Nez Perce NF
Ul Bend NWR GREAT FALLS
NWR National Wildlife Refuge
National Forest National Grassland
CANADA UNITED STATES
Bear Paw Battlefield
Flathead NF Lewis Benton and Lake Clark NWR NF
Fish and Wildlife Service
Lake of the Woods
Nez Perce NHP
National Forest System
C AN AD A U N I T ED S T A TE S
National Park National Preserve National Recreation Area National Recreational River National Reserve National Seashore National Scenic Riverway Parkway
NP N PRES NRA NRR N RES NS NSR PKWY
NA T IO NA L N
Memorial National Battlefield National Battlefield Park National Historical Park National Historic Site National Lakeshore National Monument National Memorial National Military Park
Lake Chelan NRA
OLYMPIA Mount Rainier Willapa NWR NP Snoqualmie Julia Butler Lewis and Clark NF Hansen NWR NHP Gifford Lewis and Clark NWR Pinchot NF 82 Fort Vancouver NHS Ridgefield McNary NWR Three Arch Steigerwald Lake NWR RICHLAND NWR Rocks NWR PASCO Franz Lake NWR PORTLAND Umatilla KENNEWICK Columbia NWR OREGON CITY Pierce NWR SALEM 84 Umatilla Mount NF Hood NF CORVALLIS 5 William L. Finley Umatilla NWR NF Willamette NF EUGENE Whitman NF
MEM NB NBP NHP NHS NL NM N MEM NMP
ST N ATION AL SC ENIC Colville
National Park System
Note: Abbreviations at right are for federal lands shown on this map. In many places, exact trail locations have not yet been determined. Portions of the trails indicated on this map may not be accessible for public use. Please check with individual trail clubs and managing offices for the latest available trail locations.
Olympic NP Olympic NF
NA TC HE
North Cascades NP
PACI FIC N O
Mount Baker NF
Alaska Maritime NWR
L NA Innoko NWR
NA TI O
TR AI L
To Mexico City
GULF OF MEXICO
CANADA UNITED STATES
WEST PALM BEACH
LAREDO Big Cypress N PRES
PA C I F I C O C E A N Oahu HONOLULU Molokai
H AWA I I
GULF OF ALASKA Puâ€˜ukoholĂ¤ Heiau NHS Kaloko-HonokĂśhau NHP
PA C I F I C O C E A N 0 0
Puâ€˜uhonua o HĂśnaunau NHP
400 Kilometers 200
ALA KAHAKAI NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
KAILUA-KONA Hawaiâ€˜i Volcanoes NP
Scale for all areas except Alaska 200 Kilometers 0 100 0
Map revised April 2010.
For more information on the Partnership for the National Trails System and the â€œDecade for the National Trails Systemâ€?, visit their website at http://pnts.org/new/
Volunteer Spotlight Ed Talone Ed Talone is currently volunteering at the FTA office in Gainesville. Ed has walked more than 60,000 miles in 49 states and Canada, including three thru-hikes of the Florida Trail. How and when did you get involved with FTA? I began hiking on the FT in 1987, but my first chance to volunteer was 2004. That year, long-time FTA member Mary Pat Cross and I blazed 550 miles of road walks along the Florida Trail. When we were done, the entire trail was blazed from end to end for the first time. This was the longest (in miles) blazing project in the history of American trails. I have also been fortunate to be able to help out at headquarters in Gainesville during the last two years. This is a great way to find out everything that goes into making the trail a reality. How did you become a hiker and what does it mean to you? It may well be that I became a hiker because of the US Postal Service. In 1930 my father was living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when the family was uprooted to Washington DC because of a job offer as a Postal Inspector. Later that spring my Dadâ€™s high school class trip was to the Monocacy Aqueduct on the C&O Canal in Maryland. The canal had operated from 1833-1924, but still drew fishermen, strollers, and in his case a picnic. That day must have made a good impression on my father, because 36 years later he chose the same spot to take my brother John and I on our first hike.
Ed Talone on the AT in Grayson Highlands, VA. Photo by Julie King
My memory of that day is crystal clear even now. My father, an engineer, and my brother were under the aqueduct discussing things like keystone arches and other facets of engineering. I was 100 years in the past, gazing across the 550-foot aqueduct. What I saw was a sharp curve to the right. At age 8 I was not allowed to cross alone and I just had to know what was around that bend. Eventually we crossed over and just around that bend was Milepost 43. My father pointed back downriver and told me that it was 43 miles to Washington DC. I immediately started planning! Then he pointed the other way and said it was 141 miles to someplace called Cumberland, Maryland. Well this floored meâ€Śa path 184 miles long; I just had to walk it. That day I would have been happy just to know that I would see the whole canal. Good health and good fortune have allowed for so much more. What started as a hobby has become a way of life. I start most days on the trail figuring that I must be the luckiest man alive. Here are a few reasons: Towns I have walked through more than 5000 towns around the country. I love the ones with odd names.
Earth, Texas Joy, Illinois Hot Coffee, Mississippi Frost, Ohio Frog City, Florida Pie Town, New Mexico
Little Orleans, Maryland Caratunk, Maine Christmas, Michigan Cul de Sac, Missouri Oil City, Pennsylvania Gas City, Indiana
Atlantic City, Wyoming Portage Des Sioux, Missouri Coin, Iowa Two Dot, Montana Continental Divide, New Mexico Luck, Wisconsin
You’ll note no large cities are in the mix, for only the small dare to be odd. In fact Pie Town had to fight for many years to keep its name. The Post Office thought it undignified. Two small towns, Hot Coffee and Buffalo Prairie, Illinois even named me Mayor for a day. Despite this they survive. People Hiking has brought me in contact with all manner of folks, from a US President’s best friend to the scores of people who have stopped to ask just what I was doing. Their stories could fill a book. Three, however, changed my life and are a constant reminder of just how lucky I really am In 1992 I was walking north on the Pacific Crest Trail and chanced to stop for supplies in Idyllwild, California. There I met the remarkable brother-and-sister team of Gordon Smith and Sue Lockwood. Sue had been a teacher and basketball coach in Milford, Michigan, when her life changed forever with the loss of her sight and kidney function. Gordon came to help and they decided to follow hikers in the summer and teach kids to read in the winter. That day, to my good fortune, was a day off for the hikers they were following, allowing us all to meet. Gordon quickly asked me if Sue and her Guide Dog Mac could join me the next day for a hike across the desert near Palm Springs. I said sure, and so it began The following morning I found out just how much this meant to Sue when I met her under a Manzanita bush in the desert, where she had been waiting patiently for 3 hours just for a chance to hike with me! We would go on to walk large chunks of the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide and North Country Trails together. This was only a prelude to a dream we both realized by walking from coast to coast in 1999. Through it all Sue was indomitable, once doing 150 miles on crutches after a broken leg. Sue’s life journey ended in 2007. People she had taught to read travelled to Missouri for the service and read from the books she and Gordon had created. Gordon continues to help people even now, driving folks to church or appointments as he is able. My other “miracle” occurred in 2011. That year I was walking from Key West to Canada and paused along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia to make a call regarding a shuttle. Nearby, a woman was also on the phone and soon we began to talk. Julie King was very interested in my journey and I immediately was thinking: hiking partner! Then I inquired about her trip and my hopes sank. Julie had just covered 200 miles in 6 days of hiking! This included the rugged “Four State Challenge,” a one-day hike of 42 miles along the Appalachian Trail. I would later learn that Julie was an Olympic-caliber athlete, but thankfully she still wished to hike with me. In 2013 Julie accompanied me from Maine to Labrador, Canada, charming everyone along the way and doing an amazing job of promoting the International Appalachian Trail. While we hiked she carried on two dialogues, one with me and one with every animal we passed. Her amazing eyes and insight missed nothing, and I was the beneficiary as she noted all creatures great and small. Currently, Julie is working in Vermont and has plans to hike the Eastern Continental Trail and continue her quest to climb the 50 US highpoints. Campsites, Indoors and out Most days when I am walking I have no idea where my home will be, even one hour before dark. When on public lands I almost always, without fail, camp right on the trail, as this is the easiest way to find a flat spot. However, on many nights this is not possible and many unusual campsites have resulted, including: Boats (fishing and pleasure) Picnic pavilions Atop the LA Aqueduct The Barrens of Labrador A billboard walkway Fire towers Cemeteries A train locomotive Under bridges Caves
Volunteer Spotlight - continued The above were mostly stealth camps, but even when invited to stay indoors, the result is not always a bedroom “The Van” (Sue and Gordon’s rolling home) A beauty parlor window (don’t laugh, I looked good) Gymnasiums Fisherman’s shed Beaver Stadium (Penn State) Barns Town Halls Bowling Alley (I got to be a pin boy here) Greenhouses The Presidio (I camped here the night before the Army left) Garages (many) Churches (many) What all these have in common is that once you settle in, the life common to this place resumes and thus it becomes part of your home for the night. Deep in the Florida woods, that might means hogs rooting about. From the LA Aqueduct I saw the Northern Lights! Churches fill with delightful echoes at night, depending on the height of the nave. The humble fishing shed noted above saved Julie and I, as the wind roared and rain blew (as it can) on the northern coast of Newfoundland. From the back of the Van, I witnessed the medical miracle of dialysis at midnight so Sue could walk 17 miles the next day. My woodland camps have been visited by bear, moose and elk, often stopping to serenade me, but never to bother me. Deep in the night I often hear the call of the coyote and the owl as they hunt. This means I must rise soon and begin moving towards my next home What is your favorite trail? The C&O Canal in Maryland. It was the first I ever hiked, and I love the history there. What is your favorite section of the Florida Trail? Bull Creek, because of the palm trees interspersed with old tramways. What is the one item you would recommend for hiking that people might not carry? An AM radio is crucial. Having 1-2 days notice of major storms has saved me on many occasions. What is the most interesting place you ever hiked? Every place I’ve ever walked has been interesting, but the most unusual and eye-opening may have been Gentryville, Missouri. The population sign at the edge of town said 79, but I’m sure that was wrong. Main Street was boarded up and all was silent except for one barking dog. The only building left with any dignity was the Post Office. That day I happened to be well-dressed, and when I told the Postmaster I was from Washington DC, she thought I was there to close the place down. I wrote the following about the area: “Names like Gentryville, Kidder, Breckenridge and Darlington echo across the hills of Northern Missouri. You enter each passing the skeletons of grand turn-of-the-century farmhouses. Trees and vines occupy them now. These towns are listed in the latest Gazette, but will they be in the next edition? Ghosts wait at the edge of town, lurking. They know the answer to that one.”
We would like to thank Ed for devoting the last three months to helping the overworked staff in our Gainesville office. This is the second year Ed has helped us make it through the busy season. He answers phones, helps lost hikers, gives trail tips to people planning hikes, enters data, offers advice on how we can make our systems better and in general, does things that no one else has time to do. And he does it all with a great attitude. He has been a lifesaver and we can’t thank him enough. As he leaves to go “on walkabout”, we wish him only the best. If you run into him out on the trails, thank him for all he does for FTA. And Ed…please come back next year!
A Day on the florida trail by Ed Talone On any long distance hike there are sections where nothing unusual occurs. However, even on these days, the views keep changing, dinner tastes great after 20 miles, and the game you wanted to catch on the radio comes in clearly. One day in March, 2001, I rose before first light to beat an oncoming storm. I was somewhere along the Florida Trail in the Apalachicola National Forest. I had left Key West in January, and to date had not walked in more than a drizzle. That was about to change. I managed to reach Route 12 dry and changed into sneakers. As the rain came, a day I will never forget began. I got lucky right away because there was no wind, and no lightning, but the rain blasted down in torrents. I faced a roadwalk of around 11 miles to reach the crossing of the Apalachicola River. About two miles along a truck pulled up and an older man offered a ride into Bristol. Well, I must have resembled a fountain as I quickly told him of my journey and my neverbroken rule of walking every step. He clearly doubted my sanity, as expected, but began to get angry as I continued to insist on walking. The problem was that he thought that I feared him, or perhaps his driving. He just wasn’t going to get it. He left, and came back, offered lodging and food to no avail. He gave up, shaking his head, and went away upset thinking that I doubted his good intentions. Perhaps he did bring good karma, because the rain suddenly stopped and the day began to warm. The sun was just coming out as I approached a farm on the left side of the road. An older woman was working her way slowly out to her mailbox. On her arm was a young girl, perhaps her daughter. We Ed Talone and Julie King, Port aux Basque, all reached the mailbox together and I called out Newfoundland at the end of the IAT that it was a great day for a walk. “It sure is”, she replied, and then she told me why. A year before she’d had a stroke, and was not expected to ever leave her bed. What she missed most was the simple act of walking to get her mail some 100 yards from her home. After a year of trying she had finally made it. This was her thru-hike and she had done it! As I left, she rested against the box and happily sorted her treasures. It has been 14 years since that day, and I think of her whenever the miles get long. I was elated as I headed into Bristol and the day began to wane. As with most days, I had no idea where I was going to camp. I never stay in campgrounds as the food-seeking critters are too comfortable with visitors. The town motel looked grim, so I turned west towards the river. I had heard that a new bridge was being built across the Apalachicola, but had no idea if it was open. As darkness came on I found both the bridge and a memorable campsite. It turns out that the bridge was complete, but not open. This left me with a tent site with distant views from the bridge’s highest point, and even a bathroom! It would have to be a “lights out” camp, but no matter. The food I ate filled me and required no flame. I slept up there under a canopy of stars waiting for another dawn and another bend in the trail.
2015 thru-huker season: Hikers helping hikers by sandra friend Hikers northbound. Hikers southbound. Too many hikers to keep track of! That’s what this season’s long distance hiking season on the Florida Trail looks like, dished up with a liberal dose of wet. This is one of the wettest winters we’ve seen in years, but that snow up north - as in Alabama and Georgia - has had more people coming to the Florida Trail to hike than we’ve ever seen before. Our trail information has greatly improved, with the launch of The Florida Trail Guide in 2013 followed by updated FTA maps and data book, and now an app version of the FT Guide, so more hikers are hitting the trail. Last year, a small group of experienced hikers, myself included, launched the Florida Trail Hikers Alliance (FTHA) to connect newbie hikers to the Florida Trail with experienced 2015-01 FT Kickoff - The first wave of thru and hikers, and to promote hiking on the Florida section hikers at the terminus marker at Oasis Trail. We encourage all hikers to become FTA Visitor Center, Big Cypress National Preserve members. Working in partnership with FTA on some projects, like the 2015 Florida Trail Kickoff, our focus is on hikers and the hiking experience on our National Scenic Trail. Our first project was to set up online forums for trail discussion at fthikers.org. Since then, we’ve been supporting hiker events on the Florida Trail this season. 2015 Florida Trail Kickoff T-shirts. Online registration. Connecting incoming hikers with volunteers who could give them a ride to the Southern Terminus from an airport, a bus station, or a hotel ... and maybe a place to stay for a night. It was a flurry of activity in December pulling together a kickoff event at the last minute, working with FTA volunteers from the Happy Hoofers Chapter (David Denham and Lynn and Mike Thompson among them) as well as Bob DeGross at Big Cypress National Preserve, who wrangled us camping spots and cooking space. Randy and Luanne Anderson oversaw breakfasts and Eric Mason brought the portable kitchen for the Happy Hoofers to cook dinners and prep lunches. We all talked trail with the steady stream of hikers coming through. Starting on January 5 there were at least 35 people either section or thru-hiking the Florida Trail. The idea of a multi-day kickoff is to spread out those eager throngs across the campsites in Big Cypress, since some sites can only handle a handful of people. An unexpected surprise for most of the hikers as they arrived at I-75: M.J. “Eb” Eberhardt, aka Nimblewill Nomad, a legend in long distance hiking circles, was there to greet them. He provided trail talk and trail magic, cold drinks and fresh food, as the hikers scraped the swamp mud off their boots.
Billy Goat Day More than five years ago, a group of long distance hikers in Central Florida dreamed up an excuse to have a potluck get-together along the Florida Trail to honor another hiking legend, Billy Goat. He’s one of the small clan of extreme long distance hikers, like Eb, with more than 40,000 miles on his feet while hiking America’s National Scenic Trails. The Pacific Crest Trail is a particular favorite for him, but Billy Goat always comes down to Florida each winter to enjoy the hiking here. The idea of Billy Goat Day is to celebrate his birthday while bringing current hikers on the Florida Trail in to meet him. With Eb there to greet him too, the tally of hikers - many brought to the event by volunteers who picked them up from more than 100 miles of trail - topped 52, the most ever at this event, held at Bear Pond Trailhead in Seminole State Forest.
2015 Billy Goat Day - Thru-hikers, section hikers, and volunteers who support hikers: a great cross-section of Florida Trail hikers
Meet & Greet with Jim Kern Although he was invited to Billy Goat Day, Jim Kern was busy in Washington D.C. advocating for the National Scenic Trails. We didn’t want the opportunity to slip by, so a gathering was set in Lake City for the Florida Trail founder to meet, for the first time, a group of Florida Trail thru-hikers while they were on the trail. Only about a third of the hikers currently on the trail were represented (it’s hard to track those moving targets down), it was still a great group that enjoyed a round-robin talking about their experiences on the trail this season, and getting their photos taken with Jim and Eb.
Jim Kern chats with a group of thru-hikers who’ve come in for a meal with him off the Florida Trail at various points between Rodman Dam and White Springs, thanks to volunteer shuttle drivers.
A Visit with jim kern By lorri miller Not enough thanks can be said to those individuals who contribute so much to the Florida Trail Association (FTA). During the 2014 annual conference of the FTA, Jim Kern, the founder of the Florida Trail and FTA, offered a weekend at his home cottage to the lucky high bidder at the annual auction. My friend Jan Wells, an accomplished FTA Activity Leader with a tremendous knowledge of hiking, flora, and fauna, won the bid. Since the offer was for two people, Jan invited me to go with her. I have never been so grateful and had a wonderful time. I haven’t breathed such clean air since the last time I was in the middle of one of Florida’s protected preserves.
Lorri Miller, Jim Kern and Jan Wells
On Friday afternoon, Jan and I arrived at Jim’s remote home on Capo Island north of St. Augustine. As we were getting to know each other while sitting in Jim’s living room with a glass of wine, Jim’s friend, Mary, joined us. On display were many books full of Jim’s photography from the most remote places in the world, and many photographs of wildlife which are rare and endangered. Jim’s firm, the Kern Company, specializes in buying, selling, and brokering vacant land in Florida. This location comprises his main home, as well as what I like to call a “house-on-the-water” cottage. Jan and I stayed at the “house-on-the-water”.
When Jim acquired the property of 1400 acres, it was covered with trash like old refrigerators and beer bottles. With hard work, Jim restored the parcel back to its natural state. By utilizing solar panels he has turned his property into an energy efficient land. Jim’s main home and our “house-on-the-water” are surrounded by Florida’s seagrass meadows, woodlands, and saltmarsh. Located near the Guana Tolomato Matanzas (GTM) National Estuarine Research Reserve, we felt like we were visiting one of the last pieces of earth’s natural wonders. After we got settled in, Jim and Mary stopped by to take us for a boat ride on the Intracoastal Waterway. We were in search of a white pelican which didn’t appear this time. But we saw many types of birds, such as a red-beak oystercatcher, sandpiper, cormorant, pelican, ibis, great blue heron, clapper rail, black skimmer, cattle egret, and horned grebe. Marine life included mullet jumping out of the water and a dolphin! Jim had installed the garden-variety, mean- looking owl decoys to keep the birds from pooping in his boat. It seemed to be love at first sight for one of the cormorants. On Friday night, with temperatures cooler than normal, we sat around a blazing fireplace in Jim’s home, enjoying good company, lots of humor, wine, cheese, and crackers. On Saturday morning, Jan and I headed to the GTM National Estuarine Research Reserve, just across the causeway from Jim’s home. The GMT Research Reserve protects 74,000 acres of conservation lands, and is one of 28 national estuarine
research reserves. Partly due to changes in elevation, it contains brackish marshes, pine flatwoods, and scrub which require regular burning to regenerate. Numerous forms of wildlife abound. During the winter months, it is not unusual to see whales offshore. The waters are important calving grounds for the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. Sea turtles nest on the beach. Jan and I hiked about seven of the ten available miles of nature trails at the GMT, after having breakfast at “Jaybirds”, a restaurant recommended by Jim. We avoided the orange trail because this area is hunted between the months of November through January. Game includes duck, deer, wild hog, and squirrel. When the trail got near the shoreline, we saw piles of oyster shells. It may be at this time that Jan and I decided to have oysters for our evening meal. Due to daily tides in the marshes, fresh water combines with salt water, becoming brackish. Freshwater wetlands support a greater variety of plants than brackish and estuarine marshes. Marshes are considered “treeless” wetlands. Wooded portions of the GMT contain gum, oak, cypress, and maple trees. Much of the pine forest was logged about 40 years ago and one-third was converted to a slash pine plantation in 1978. The plantations are being restored through selective thinning and regular burning. The slash pine is a long-needled pine tree that sometimes reaches 100 feet in height. It can be used for lumber, paper pulp, and turpentine. There is a state park near my home in Lakeland (Colt Creek State Park) that was donated to the state of Florida by a family who made their money off the land by producing turpentine. Scrub requires regular burning to regenerate. Prior to human settlement, lightning-ignited fires swept across southern pine forests, releasing nutrients, stimulating seed germination, and preventing the build-up of plant material that causes catastrophic wildfires. At Guana River, managers mimic the ancient role of fire through prescribed burns. They construct fire lanes and burn during favorable wind and weather conditions to protect surrounding communities. Before going back home to Lakeland on Sunday, Jan and I took a walking tour of St. Augustine. Our nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine was the first successful European settlement in the United States. Ponce de Leon claimed Florida for Spain in 1513, but it wasn’t until Pedro Menendez landed in St. Augustine with 700 soldiers and colonists that the city was founded, thus making St. Augustine the oldest continually occupied European settlement in North America. The entire Florida peninsula was returned to Spain as part of the negotiations ending the American Revolution in 1783. In 1845, Florida became the 27th state of the Union. During the winter of 1883-84 Henry Flagler, co-founder of Standard Oil Company, visited the city and later made a major impact on the architecture and economy by building the Hotel Ponce de Leon, other hotels, a church,
House-on-the-Water and more.
We visited what use to be the Flagler hotel and is now a part of Flagler College. Since I have visited Madrid and Barcelona, Spain, it was obvious that the architecture has a strong Spanish influence. It was incredible! Sadly, it was time to leave and go back home to Lakeland. With Jim’s knowledge and experience of nature’s wonders, I could easily spend a week talking to him and exploring the area. He is a naturalist to the core. There may be few other visionaries with such a great passion for the outdoors. Thank you, Jim and Jan. I had the time of my life.
For chapter websites/Meetups, go to http://www.floridatrail.org/about-us/chapters/ then select the chapter ALLIGATOR AMBLERS CHAPTER CHARLOTTE, COLLIER, AND LEE Carl Kepford 239-252-8363
AA Sub Chapter FISHEATING CREEK GLADES AND HENDRY
Margaret England 863-674-0695 APALACHEE CHAPTER FRANKLIN, GADSDEN, JEFFERSON, LEON, LIBERTY, AND WAKULLA Howard Pardue 850-386-1494 BIG CYPRESS CHAPTER MIAMI-DADE AND MONROE Nina Dupuy 305-608-6866 CENTRAL FLORIDA CHAPTER ORANGE, SEMINOLE, AND OSCEOLA Bill Turman 407-359-8318 CHOCTAWHATCHEE CHAPTER WALTON AND OKALOOSA Paul Kellum 850-654-1172
When you join the state-wide Florida Trail Association you automatically become a member of your local chapter based upon your zip code. However, members may attend the activities of any chapter and may transfer to any chapter they wish simply by informing the FTA Office. Florida Trail activities are organized by our local chapters and are led by authorized volunteer activity leaders. Many of our activities are open to the general public so you can get to know us before you join. Activities can be found online at www.floridatrail.org Click on “About Us” then click on the “Upcoming Events” button on the left. Local activities are usually also listed on the chapter websites, Facebook pages and Meetups. Click on “About Us” then “Our Chapters” for links to local chapter sites. Participants in activities must sign an Assumption of Risk form and agree to accept personal responsibility for their safety and the safety of accompanying minors. Always contact the activity leader in advance for more information, to let them know you are attending, to find out any special requirements or equipment for the activity, and to check for any last minute changes.
FLORIDA CRACKERS CHAPTER ALACHUA, LEVY, GILCRIST, AND MARION Mitch Sapp 352-332-2065 HALIFAX-ST JOHNS CHAPTER FLAGLER, PUTNAM, AND VOLUSIA Linda Taylor 386-774-0734 HAPPY HOOFERS CHAPTER BROWARD AND HENDRY Lynn Thompson 954-609-4727 HEARTLAND CHAPTER DESOTO, HARDEE, HIGHLANDS, AND POLK David Waldrop 863-605-3587 HIGHLANDERS CHAPTER LAKE AND SUMTER Howard Pospesel 352-589-2543 INDIAN RIVER CHAPTER BREVARD AND INDIAN RIVER Richard Loudon 321-638-8804 LOXAHATCHEE CHAPTER PALM BEACH Margaret Brabham 561-588-3077 NORTH FLA TRAILBLAZERS CHAPTER BAKER, BRADFORD, CLAY, DUVAL, NASSAU, ST. JOHNS, AND UNION Walter Bryant 904-704-6218
SUWANNEE CHAPTER COLUMBIA, DIXIE, HAMILTON, LAFAYETTE, MADISON, SUWANNEE, AND TAYLOR Irv Chance 386-330-2424
PANHANDLE CHAPTER BAY, CALHOUN, GULF, HOLMES, JACKSON, AND WASHINGTON Clarissa Thacker 850-814-5365
TROPICAL TREKKERS CHAPTER MARTIN, OKEECHOBEE, AND ST. LUCIE Bridget Kean 850-212-2262
SUNCOAST CHAPTER CITRUS, HERNANDO, HILLSBOROUGH, MANATEE, PASCO, PINELLAS AND SARASOTA Ralph Hancock 727-420-5376
WESTERN GATE CHAPTER ESCAMBIA AND SANTA ROSA Helen Wigersma 850-484-0528
Show your FTA colors on and off the Trail. Adult sizes available in short and long sleeves. Perfect for safety and hunting seasons.
What trail tot wouldnâ€™t love our child-sized T-shirt featuring Rob Smithâ€™s FTA Turtle (complete with hardhat) on the front and a big TRAIL CREW on the back. (Makes the kids easy to see on the trail, too!)
The Footprint Magazine Submission Guidelines Without the help of FTA members and volunteers, there is no magazine. We strongly encourage your submission of photos and content for every issue. Photos: We are looking for high resolution (300 dpi) photos for publication. Make sure that if they are identifiable photos of people that they have signed the necessary photo release - included on the FTA Assumption of Risk. We are always looking for cover photos, which need to be vertical format and at least 300 dpi. Pictures can include: People hiking on the trail Trail maintenance/training activities Flora and fauna on the trail
Articles: We hope for contributions from the various chapters highlighting events and accomplishments, especially those that involve new groups and outreach opportunities. We also look for unique hiking stories from members, and articles regarding anything that pertains to hiking and camping (trail recipes, hiking and safety tips, howtos, etc.) If you submit a story, please make sure to include photos that you would like to go with it. Word count can be anywhere from 200 to 900 words, depending on photos and page length. Please do not embed photos within a document the resolution will be too low for inclusion. Instead submit all photos as separate files. Please send all submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome New Members December 2014 through February 2015 Brittney Allgair Harold Adams Nicholas Albino Ramon Alcantara Bonny Allen Sherry Allen Jeffrey Allgeo Antonio Amaral Jr Jon Anderson Randy & LuAnne Anderson John Asturias Robyn Baber Sandy Bagarella Melissa Bailey Jennifer Baird Helio Baker Carlos Ballantyne Scott Banks Brack Barker William Barksdale Russ & Dody Barrett Greg & Beth Barton Karen Bates Andrea Beauchamp Barbara Betus Andrea & Barnett Black John & Patricia Blake Stephen Bodolay Thomas Brady Brenda Breckon Dania Brener Denise Brener Jeremy Brener Colette Brion Bettina Brutsch Ulf Buchholz Glen Bupp Marlene Burke Jessica Cabral Suzanne & Danny Cain Howard Callaway Shana Carey Andrew Carney Beth Carpenter Hanna Carroll Edward Carter Sharon Carter Colleen Castille Marco Castillo & Jessica
Potevin Dianne Chosen Marie Christensen Richard Cialona & Family Cindi Clapp Mary Ellen Clark Jim and Corliss Clary Bonnie Coffey David Colborn Mark & Christine Conlon Bett Cornell Michael Coulombe Kendra & Kevin Cozad Terri Cullins Richard Curl Robert Dagit Victor Dahlquist William Daniels Mihaly Davidson & Ann Millet Timothy & David Dean Jeff Dearolph Karen DeBaere Karen Deerwester James Dekle Angela Dial Marc & Theresa Diamante Robert & Mary Dipboye Jim Doten George Drake Richard Dunphy Mina Ebrahimian Michael Ehrhart Michael Ehrhart Nicholas Espinosa Steve Eswine William Evans Beryl & Fred Everett John & Sherry Fargnoli Grayal Farr Tom Ferris Pat Ficaro Cathy Field Linda Fielder Carl Fisher Shaun & Elizabeth Fisher John Fitzgerald Lila Fitzgerald Corey and Cheryl Forde
Curtis Franklin Lisa Friddle Lori & Curtis Fuller Stephen Fussell & Family Michael Ganey Jorge Garcia Doug Garner Mary Giddens Chris Glass & Taylor Hughes Bonnie & Robert Glynn Diane Goeldner Stephen Goff Luke Gommermann & Family Julian Gonzalez Mauricio Gonzalez & Natalia Marique Bruce Goodwin Lamertcia Gorsich Andrew Gottschalk Ed Gram Paula Greene Marc Greenwald Kathy Griffin Pat Hackenberg Elizabeth Hall Barb Halls Richard & Carolyn Harlan Elizabeth Harney-Degler Mike Harris Bear & Mitzi Henley Jim Henley Philip Hennen Patricia Herbst Stephen Herceg Edward Herod James Hervey Ron Hitt Leila Hobbs Adam Hoff Anna Holden Elizabeth Holland Hazel and David Holmes Ruth Holmes & Laura Reynolds Chris Hopkins Susan Hosmer Jerry Howard
Keith Ingram & Julie Veal Cliff Irving Michael James Jimmie Jarratt Dan & Gail Johnson Rebecca Johnson Rosemary Jones Debbie Justice-Obley & Ross Obley Sonya Kahl & Joe Hale Steve Kaiser Victoria Keefe John King Ronald Kirkendoll Hannah Kluger Joanne Knight Lawrence Kosakowski & Kelly Wonderlick John & Millie Kozar Jeffrey Krajewski Lara & Rob Kramer Rebecca Kronick Ken Kuhl Tina & Vivek Lakhotia Patricia LaMedica Elana Lancelotta Leonardo Lanes Steven Lange Ahn Le William LePage Peggy Levin & Family Janet Lewellyn & Gary Gelb Mike Lichtenfels & Jennifer Bendetti Brian Lloyd Bob Looby Judy Lopez Christy Lowery Sarah Lynch Edward Lynt Linda Lyon Karen Mahnk Josh Mahoney Michele & Martin Maloney Michelle Manzer & Evan Turkle David & Joanne Mathia
Welcome New Members December 2014 through February 2015 Gary Matthews Leo Mayne Craig & Cindy Maytrott Tom McCarthy Amy McCrum Gary McKay Brandon & Brandi McKenny Jane Marie Merritt Billie Meyers Edwin Miller Henry Mixon Claudia Montany Charlene Morales & Family Richard Morrison Laura Moyant Tina Murphy Sandy Myers James Nanninga Anton Nassif Jennifer Nell & Jeanne Jones Michael Nelson David Newman Peter & Marcie Nolan Glenn Ocleary Richard Olson Greg Paine Daniel Parkison Deb & Louis Parrish Liane Patrylo Charles Phypers Debra Pierce Debra Pierce Frank & Kathleen Pierce Clea Pilnik Perez Pilnik Patrcia Power Elizabeth Proctor Christopher Purvis Cindi Queen Karen Quist & Stan Teague Michael Raff Wilhelmina Rao Brittany Raymond Kirstin & Michael Raymond
Robert Rebeor Lorraine Reder Robert & Jennifer Reever Raymond Reynoso Rick Richmond Sandi Richmond James Riley J.P. Rinehart Richard Robinson David Rohal Mary Rose Peter Rowell Thomas Russ Mike Ruszczycki Dustin Rybovich Robert Rzewnicki Aurelio Jose Santiesteban Beverly Sauls Nancy Saunders Janice and Mike Saxton Silvia Schimek Jacque Schrock Doug & Barbara Scott Lance Scott & Pamela Smith Matt Seaman Letizia Shaffer Mark Sheddan Paul Sheffey Pamela Shemet Michael Sheridan Shilpa Shukla Mark Sleeper Alicia Smith Samuel Smith Brianna Smyth Christine Solazzi Jessica Solis Carol & Harry Spring Hayley St John-Ayre Robert Stewart Carol & Joseph Stielper Christine Stinauer Jennifer Stine Lyn Stires Anne Supik Gary Swing Jill Taft Karen Thompson
Linda Thompson Terri Thorpe Fred Tileston Reid Tillery Brian Tilly Larry Timmons Raul Travieso Richard Traylor Maggie & Chad Truitt Greg Ueatch Judy Vadnais Jorge Varino & Family Jon Vernier Jennifer & Michael Viggiano Bart Viner Carol Vogel Stephen Wahl Larry Wallace Jill Warren Henry Wasserman Dave Welter Terri & Tim Wetherington Barbara Whelan Diane White Donald White Gary White Robert Whytal Pat Wight Anne Wilde Jane Williams Nicole Williams Carol Wilson & Mike Murberg Morton Winsberg Linda Wirtz Mike Wollmer Sandy Woodall Karen Woytowich & Family Phillip Wray David Yarborough David Young Sue Zamper Bobby Zaragoza & Family Allison Zettwoch
a special thanks to our generous donors
december 2014 through february 2015
Donations of $1000 & Above Anonymous Ernest & Jean Baldini Pamphalon Foundation
Carlos Schomaker Margaret Scruggs Jan Wells
Donations of $100 to $999 Walker Banning & Kathy Criscola Richard Barfield Michael Campbell Mac Clark James R Couillard Peter Craumer Fred Davis Peter & Jo Ann Durnell Earth Share Rik Edmonds & Junia Mason Joseph & Pamela Hale Ralph & Kathy Hancock Jelks Family Foundation William Jones Paul King Ron Martin Mary McKinley John McPherson Rhoda & Paul Morrisroe Galen Moses Frank Orser
Panhandle Chapter Howard & Carolyn Pardue Linda Patton Francis & Colleen Poole Ingrid Schultz Johnston & Connie Scott Michael Sheridan Ronald Spitznagel Jeffry Stern Nancy Stine Cathy Summers Daniel Thomas USF Outdoor Recreation Marion Van Alstyne Richard Ward Gary Werner Leslie Wheeler Helen Wigersma Jean Williamson & John Koval Craig Wood
a special thanks to our generous donors
december 2014 through february 2015
Donations of $5 to $99 Randall & Janet Akerson Jim Aldridge Byron Almquist Serrin Anderson Pauline Ashton Stuart Baker Ben Berauer Samuel & Barbara Bigbie Karen Bledsoe Aaron & Vanesa Bowden Kerri & Robert Braley Leigh Brooks Phyllis Canter Tom Cooney Scott Copeland Bett Cornell Helga Crocker Bob & Ruth Anne Crowell David Crowley Kevin Curry John & Alice Deagan Frank Depinto Megan Digeon Michael DiZazzo Megan Donoghue Else Drusts Dan Duerr Darlene Duffie Earthshare Guy Edson Marc Engel Dale & William Fairbanks Grayal Farr
Frederick Frank Cheryl Gardner Doug Gluck Diane Goeldner Stephen Goff Kathy Griffin Sonya Guidry Christine Hale Heartland Chapter William Heister Bob Herring & Gaye Ciesinski Lawrence Hetrick Anna Holden Brad Hoopes Kym Householder Sydney & Phyllis Jackson Ulrike Johnson Ken & Margaret Johnson John King Lorri Lilja Guion & Ella Lindsay Consuelo Lyonnet Michele & Martin Maloney Janet McAliley Glen McClure Bill Meng Lorri Miller John Moore III Check Network 4 Good Charles Oates Holly Parker Julia Pearsall & Steven Dickey Bonalyn Plante
Virginia Ramsbottom Lorraine Reder Michael & Judy Regner Claude & Lorraine Richards Andrew Richards Ann Rodgers David Rohal Richard Salter Sara Rodriguez Dianne & Mik Saunders Letizia Shaffer Kerry & Karen Speed Hayley St John - Ayre Judith Steinbicer Joachim & Renate Steinert Steven Tuten Phillip Stonwater Anne Supik Jill Taft Dolores & Timothy Tanner Tom & Grace Tate Larry Timmons Judy Trotta & Bob Stone Greg Ueatch Dennis Walker Bob Warren Susan Waters Terri & Tim Wetherington Donald Wood Jr & Lisa Wood Allan Young Deborah Zimmerman
FLORIDA TRAIL ASSOCIATION FLORIDA TRAIL ASSOCIATION 5415 SW 13th St Gainesville, FL 32608 352-378-8823 877-HIKE-FLA email@example.com BOARD OF DIRECTORS Carlos Schomaker, President Tom Daniel, VP Trails Holly Parker, VP Outreach/Development Eve Barbour , VP Membership Leslie Wheeler, Secretary Pam Hale, Treasurer Christopher Boykin David Denham Megan Digeon Gary Knecht Jan Wells Adam Wiegand FLORIDA TRAIL STAFF GAINESVILLE HEADQUARTERS 877-HIKE-FLA or 352-378-8823 Janet Akerson, Administrative Director Diane Strong, Administrative Assistant
Spring 2015 Volume 32, Issue 2 OUR MAGAZINE The Footprint is published by the Florida Trail Association, a volunteer-based nonprofit organization focused on Florida hiking and trail building. Since 1966, the primary mission of our organization has been the care and protection of the Florida Trail, a 1,300-mile footpath across the Sunshine State - Florida’s own National Scenic Trail. The Footprint (ISSN 1064-0681) is published quarterly by the Florida Trail Association, 5415 SW 13th St, Gainesville, FL 32608, 352-378-8823. Bulk rate postage paid at Gainesville, FL. Postmaster: Send change-of-address form 3597 to Footprint, 5415 SW 13th St, Gainesville, FL 32608. © 2015, Florida Trail Association All rights reserved.
Megan Donoghue, Volunteer Program Coordinator 941-408-3098 Jeff Glenn, North Regional Representative 352-514-1455 Alex Stigliano, Central/South Regional Representative 828-333-1529 FLORIDA TRAIL Footprint Janet Akerson, Editor Deb Blick, Layout and Distribution Contributors retain copyright to their work but give the Florida Trail Association premission to use to promote FTA and the Florida Trail. Articles are subject to editing for clarity and space. Materials will be returned if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. Opinions, observations, and endorsements made within the Florida Trail Footprint do not necessarily reflect those of the board or staff of the Florida Trail Association.
The Footprint is printed with soy-based inks on paper with post-consumer content Deadline for articles for the spring issue of The Footprint is June 1, 2015. Deadline for chapter activities covering July - October to appear in the electronic version of the fall issue of The Footprint is June 15, 2015.
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OUR GOAL To provide outreach to our readers through informative articles that express appreciation for and conservation of the natural beauty of Florida; to inform our readers of Florida Trail Association business; and to provide information on Florida hiking and outdoor recreation opportunities. CONTRIBUTORS Contributors are welcome to submit items for our various departments as well as trail and association-related news. Please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss ideas for feature stories prior to submission. MEMBERSHIP If you’re not already a member, join now. As a Florida Trail member, you receive a subscription to The Footprint magazine, membership in a local chapter, a local newsletter with local activities, opportunities for outdoor skills training, participation in regional and annual conferences and more. Call toll-free 877-HIKE-FLA for more information. ADVERTISING Reach a highly targeted demographic of Florida outdoor enthusiasts by advertising with us or becoming a regular sponsor. Your advertising dollars directly support production and publication of this magazine and assist the Florida Trail Association in fulfilling its mission. Call 877-HIKE-FLA or email fta@floridatrail. org for more details.
upcoming chapter Activities The Florida Trail Association offers activities throughout Florida. These activities, led by authorized Activity Leaders, Section Leaders, or staff members, are organized by our local chapters. People interested in attending any activity should contact the Activity Leader for more information and for last minute changes. All activities are open to the general public unless otherwise indicated. Almost all of our chapters now pst their activities on Meetup. To find your local chapter go to http://www.floridatrail.org/about-us/chapters/ or go to Meetup and do a search for “Florida Trail Association” then join the chapter(s) in your local area. State-Wide Trainings and Opportunities Apr 9-12, 2015 - FTA Annual Conference - All FTA members and the public are invited to this conference. This weekend will include interesting programs, workshops, auctions, raffles, great food, hiking activities, and more. It is a chance for you to meet other FTA members from around the state and get to know what is happening in other areas. Life Enrichment Center, Fruitland Park, (Leesburg). More details in this issue of The Footprint.
ALLIGATOR AMBLERS CHAPTER www.apalachee.floridatrail.org July 10-12 - Tubing the Ichetucknee Ichetucknee Springs State Park, 12087 US-27, Fort White, FL. Enjoy sights in Gainesville, Fl, museum, Devils Millhopper, Bat house at the university, overnight at hotel, float the river (start out early am), call for details and carpooling. RSVP Bonnie McLauglin 239-765-5450 Aug. 22 - Tour Motes Marine Science Center Experience an up close view of a variety of marine animals and fish, a 135,000 gal aquarium and more, eat lunch and if time allows visit the beach. 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, Fl. RSVP Bonnie McLauglin 239765-5450
FLORIDA CRACKERS CHAPTER www.floridatrail.org/about-us/chapters/floridacrackers/ April 1 - Heart of the Ocala Day Hike 8:30 am at the Hunt Check Station at CR 316 and NE 203 Av Rd (old FR 88), Ft McCoy. We’ll shuttle the cars so that participants can choose between hikes of approx. 5 miles and approx. 10 miles. Bring comfortable shoes, big spray, and lots of water. Leashed dogs welcome. Bob Jones email@example.com April 2- Oleno Wild Azalea Hike A pretty easy hike of about 4 miles at Oleno State Park. It will include the River Sink. The date of this hike is subject to change because we want to do it when the wild azaleas are in bloom. We’ll meet at the Oleno State Park parking area at 9:30 and should be finished around noon. Bob Kerkel firstname.lastname@example.org April 4 Balu Forest Day Hike 9 am. Join us for a 4.0-mile interpretive nature walk on Balu Forest. Located between Gainesville and Orange Heights off State Rd 26. Susie Hetrick, manager of the property for Alachua County, will be our guide. Wear good shoes/hiking boots, bring water and a snack, hat and bug repellent. We should be finished around noon. Deb Blick email@example.com 39
FLORIDA CRACKERS CHAPTER - CONTINUED April 15 Kayak Wednesday - Ocklawaha River 9 am. Paddle the Ocklawaha River from Ray Wayside (SR 40) to Gores Landing County Park. Meet up at Gores Landing at 9 am and we’ll consolidate into a few cars for the shuttle down to Ray Wayside. $5 parking fee for each car. No rental kayaks/canoes avaiable, but we may have 1 or 2 loaners. Deb Blick ftcricket@ windstream.net April 16 Chapter Meeting 6:30 pm Brasingtons Adventure Outfitters in Gainesville. April 18 Kayak Saturday - Rainbow River 9 am. Paddle the Rainbow River. We’ll start from K.P. Hole County Park, paddle up to the headspring then coast back downstream to CR 484. Kayak rentals are available at K.P. Hole Park. Deb Blick firstname.lastname@example.org May 13 Kayak Wednesday - Ocklawaha River 9 am. Paddle the Ocklawaha River from Gores Landing County Park to Eureka West. Meet up at Eureka West boat ramp in Ft McCoy at 9 am and we’ll consolidate into a few cars for the shuttle down to Gores Landing. $5 parking fee for each car. No rental kayaks/canoes avaiable, but we may have 1 or 2 loaners. Deb Blick email@example.com May 16 Kayak Saturday - Ichetucknee River 9 am. Let’s get one more paddle of the Ichetucknee in before it’s full of tubers for the summer. Meet at 9 am at the boat launch accessed via the NORTH entrance to the state park, NOT the main entrance to the park off US 27. If you are interested in a rental contact Deb at minimum of 48 hours in advance. Deb Blick ftcricket@ windstream.net May 21 Chapter Meeting 6:30 pm Brasingtons Adventure Outfitters in Gainesville. June 10 Kayak Wednesday 9 am. Join Deb paddling local rivers and springs. Deb Blick firstname.lastname@example.org June 13 Kayak Saturday 9 am. Join Deb paddling local rivers and springs. Deb Blick email@example.com
HAPPY HOOFERS CHAPTER http://hoofers.floridatrail.org April 18 Day Hike Interceptor Canal 6 PM, Day hike 8 miles from MM 51 at the Interceptor Canal at Big Cypress National Preserve. Dick Ward 954523-8897 firstname.lastname@example.org or David Denham 305-667-8643 email@example.com April 19 Paddle and snorkel at John Pennekamp State Park. Limit 12. Kathy Bonvouloir 954-234-5657 firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike Thompson 954-850-3668 ma12Thom@bellsouth.net or Esther Muram 954-658-8386 email@example.com May 2 Bird watching at Wakodahatchee Wetlands and visit The Girl’s Strawberry U-Pick. Esther Muram 954-658-8386 firstname.lastname@example.org
HAPPY HOOFERS CHAPTER - CONTINUED May 14 Chapter Meeting Fern Forest Nature Center, 201 Lyons Rd. South, Coconut Creek, FL 33063 7:30 PM Lynn Thompson 954-8503668 email@example.com May 15 Day Hike Hike south from county line gate to pipeline, lunch at Last Resort, exit at Loonyville gate. David Denham 305667-8643 firstname.lastname@example.org or Dick Ward 954-523-8897 email@example.com
HIGHLANDERS CHAPTER www.floridatrail.org/about-us/chapters/highlanders/ April 16 Highlanders Chapter Monthly Meeting 6 PM, The program will be presented by Jena Brooks, Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation. Leesburg Public Library, 100 E Main Street. Use the entrance on Main Street. 6:00 PM. Note change of meeting date due to motorcycle event in Leesburg. Meeting room just inside the entrance to the library. Bring a snack to share and your aluminum cans to recycle. Questions? 352-787-8654 or email Bobbi Keenan firstname.lastname@example.org April 18 Firefly Hike and Pot Luck Dinner in the woods Meet at Lake Norris trailhead, 6 PM - Click on the link below or call for directions. Bring a dish to share and we will transport the food to the camp by car while we hike the 1.5 mile in. We’ll enjoy the sunset, watch the birds soar over the lake and have dinner around the fire. Then after dark around 8:30 PM we’ll hike back and see the fireflies along the trail. This is a very easy level hike along a forest road and a lot of fun for kids too. Public invited. Bring a chair, flashlight, bug spray, something to drink, and your dish to share. We will provide plates and silverware and lots of fun under a new moon. Call or email Diane with your R.S.V.P, and what you plan to bring. Leave a message on the home phone: 352-589-2721. Please only use my cell on the day of the hike if needed - 352-205-9620. Email: email@example.com WESTERN GATE CHAPTER www.floridatrail.org/about-us/chapters/westerngate/ April 4 Hike Clear Creek Trail 10 am. Let’s walk this short but beautiful nature trail just outside Whiting Field, Milton. The pitcher plants should be blooming by now! Afterwards we may stop and eat lunch in Milton. Peggy Grantham 850-982-9490 April 5 Wake-up walk at Garcon Point Trail 7 am. Peggy Grantham 850-982-9490 April 5 Late sleeper walk on Garcon Point Trail 10:30 am. Peggy Grantham 850-982-9490 April 19 Hike on Juniper Creek trail 8 am. We will meet at the parking area north of Deaton bridge, then carpool to the trailhead on Red Rock Road and hike back to Deaton bridge. A bail-out option at Indian Ford Road is an option for those wanting a shorter hike. A parking fee is charged at Deaton Bridge. Christine Hale firstname.lastname@example.org April 25 Historic walk in Alabama, Fort Morgan to Fort Gaines 9 am. Let’s explore Alabama history today by visiting Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines on Dolphin Island. We will walk through Fort Morgan first and then take the 11 AM ferry to Dolphin Island and walk around Fort Gaines after lunch on the island! Peggy Grantham 850-982-9490
WESTERN GATE CHAPTER - CONTINUED May 8-10 Hike, camp, and explore Torreya State Park 1:30 pm on Friday through 11 am on Sunday. Trudy Walton 850-434-8861
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Dates to Remember! Annual Conference - April 9-12 Board of Directors Meeting - April 25 Chapter Council Meeting - May 2 Footprint Article Deadline June 1 Footprint Activities Deadline June 15 Southern Regional Conference - Oct. 16
The Footprint - the state-wide magazine of the Florida Trail Association