VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: MITCH SAPP SANDHILL CHAPTER
Fall 2016 Volume 33 Issue 4
The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail
Ceremony To Honor The First Blaze Celebrating 50 Years of Stewardship
Florida Trail Association
on the Florida Trail Footprint
Cover photo: Jim Kern, FTA Founder This page: Gulf Islands National Seashore 2
Florida Trail Association
Contents Departments and Features
18 Pioneering Blaze
5 President’s Message 7
20 Walking Words
8 Servant’s Celebrations
25 News from the North
14 Wandering Wildlife
30 Volunteer Chapters
FEATURES 5 A Half-Century of Stewardship
21 Volunteer Spotlight
by Carlos Schomaker
27 Trail Talk
18 Historic Ceremony To Honor The First Blaze On The Florida National Scenic Trail by Karl Borton
20 Trail Blazers by Doug Alderson
7 The Florida Trail is a Non-Partisan Public Resource by Alex Stigliano
21 Mitch Sapp
7 8 America’s Servant Leaders by Karl Borton
by Karl Borton
25 Maintenance Rush The Relentless Efforts To
14 The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail by Whitney Gray
Preserve The Trail by Jeff Glenn
27 4th Annual Trail Skills Training by Kelly Wiener
27 Fall 2016
Footprint The Magazine of the Florida Trail Association
FLORIDA TRAIL ASSOCIATION 5415 SW 13th Street Gainesville, FL 32608 Toll-Free: 877-HIKE-FLA Tel: 352-378-8823 email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: FloridaTrail.org Facebook.com/FloridaTrailAssociation Digital Magazine: Issuu.com/FlaTrail
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President: Carlos Schomaker VP Trails: David Waldrop VP Outreach/Development: Holly Parker VP for Membership: Eve Barbour VP Governance: Megan Digeon Secretary: Leslie Wheeler Treasurer: Pam Hale Directors: David Denham • Peter Durnell Auz Gage • Greg Knecht • Jim Powell Jan Wells • Adam Wiegand
FLORIDA TRAIL STAFF
Administrative Director: Janet Akerson • 352-378-8823 Membership and Retail Coordinator: Diane Strong • 352-378-8823 Trail Program Director: Alex Stigliano • 828-333-1529 Volunteer Program Coordinator: Karl Borton • 570-574-3240 North Regional Representative: Jeff Glenn • 352-514-1455 Central/South Regional Representative: Kelly Wiener • 518-369-9057
FLORIDA TRAIL FOOTPRINT Editor: Alex Stigliano Layout: Sean Lucas
© 2016 Florida Trail Association All rights reserved. Contributors retain copyright to their work but give the Florida Trail Association permission 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 (ISSN 1064-0681) is published quarterly by the Florida Trail Association 5415 SW 13th St, Gainesville, FL 32608 Bulk rate postage paid at Gainesville, FL. Postmaster: Send change-of-address form 3597 to: Footprint, 5415 SW 13th St, Gainesville, FL 32608. The Footprint is printed with soy-based inks on paper with post-consumer content
Florida Trail Association
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.
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 are welcome to submit items for our various departments as well as trail and association-related news. Please contact the editor at email@example.com to discuss ideas for feature stories prior to submission.
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.
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. Deadline for articles for the Winter issue of The Footprint is February 15, 2017.
President’s Message A Half-Century Of Stewardship
Carlos Schomaker FTA President
A Half-Century Of Stewardship
he Florida Trail Association has embarked on another half-century of stewardship. The first fifty years of the organization’s life were recently commemorated, and a historical marker now honors the first steps at Clearwater Lake in the Ocala National Forest. The questions that must be asked now are: Where does FTA go from here? How does FTA better fulfill its mission? How does that mission become more relevant to the needs of all Floridians? That last question is important, because things won’t get easier in the near future. The Florida National Scenic Trail, like most other long trails, faces a host of challenges. These include tight funding, competition from other land uses in an increasingly crowded state, and even some newly-awakened political hostility to public lands. It doesn’t help that, fifty years on, the Florida Trail is still unknown or underappreciated by most residents and visitors of the Sunshine State. If, as we believe, exposure to the natural world is important for people of all ages, for recreation and peace of mind, then we need to put the Florida Trail on the mental maps of many more people. If, as we also believe, open space for wildlife corridors and clean air and water are critical for the future of our planet and our species, then we need to teach people about the lands that the Florida Trail protects. And we will need the support of many other stewards. Bluntly speaking, FTA is still largely organized as if its human environment hasn’t changed, as if Florida still has six million people instead of twenty million. The fact that closing gaps and securing protection for the trail is now more complex and difficult, or involves more players, still elicits nostalgic grumbling from those who remember a simpler, more direct time. I can appreciate that sentiment, except when it is used to prevent or slow down the strategies necessary to meet that challenging future. The fact is that many of our sister National Scenic Trail organizations, and even some of the groups that steward National Historic Trails, are farther along in their evolution, in public engagement, fundraising, and supporting their partners.
It’s tempting to say that the unique history and nature of the FTA prevented (or should prevent) our organization from fulfilling its promise, but that’s a falsehood. I’ve seen enough bright spots and innovative people and victories in the recent past to know that we can regain our strength and try new things. FTA will look and act differently in the coming years, but that is how we expand on our good work. And anyway, we can’t go back to the past. I wrote this a few years back in this magazine. I think it’s still relevant here. Use it if you can, and if you can’t, then pass it on: “FTA belongs not only to me, but to you. It belongs not only to you but to FTA members in other parts of the state, comrades you might never meet. FTA belongs not just to the trail maintainers, but also to the day-hikers and thru-hikers and (soon) people who haven’t even thought about hiking in Florida yet. ‘The important things’ should be in the minds of all of us, even as we focus on things that are particularly dear to us as individuals. That means a mindset that is a lot like the old sailors’ axiom: ‘One hand for you, one hand for the ship’. In this spirit, knowing that all of us can contribute to the longevity and strength of the FTA, I respectfully submit a dozen actions that FTA members can take as ‘a hand on the ship’. Not all of these apply to everyone, and some may be met with skepticism. Some are obvious. That’s okay. 1. Tell people you meet about the FTA and Florida hiking. If you have the gift of gab, consider speaking about us to other local groups. 2. Volunteer for chapter office. Everyone you see in officer positions, from chapter to state office, had some doubts about serving. They did it anyway. Thank them, and then sign up. 3. If you run across other hikers (scouts, etc.) outdoors, smile. Be friendly. You are all enjoying a day in nature. You are not competing groups of survivors in a post-apocalyptic wilderness.
4. If you see people incorrectly using a trail, nicely point this out to them. Report it if necessary. If they have a right to be doing that, but you don’t like it, see #3 above. 5. If you are a trail maintainer, consider mentoring or teaching others. Do this with an open heart. If you are a newbie to trails, ask one of your chapter’s veterans for instruction on trail maintenance. Tell them you’ll accept their wisdom with an open heart. 6. Cross-pollinate with neighboring chapters. Check out their activities, and invite them to yours. Make sure your Chapter Council rep passes along new ideas. Pay attention to the innovators who are creating change and moving FTA into the future. 7. Get the perennially sunny people in your chapter to be the greeters and mentors to new arrivals at chapter meetings and other events.
Florida Trail Association
8. If you’re in a friendly mood (or you’re the sunny person from #7), extend that feeling to the park rangers, volunteers, and other staff you meet. If you’re not in a friendly mood, do it anyway. They’re not the enemy. 9. Become informed. Read about trail issues, on paper and online. Learn where candidates stand on trail and outdoor recreation issues. If you’re motivated, contact the news media, your legislators, and relevant agencies. Be respectful, positive, and articulate. 10. Donate to the FTA. If you believe that our Mission is worthwhile, do it. FTA lives in the same challenging world as other non-profits. Our concerns won’t be heard if we don’t have a strong voice. 11. If you travel, try to meet local trail groups and people. It spreads the message and makes connections. It also helps you (and those you meet) to see things in a new way.
12. There’s a sign sometimes hung at gatherings of motorcycle enthusiasts: ‘Leave Your Attitude At Home’. If it works for those guys, it will work for members of the FTA. By the way, I’m guilty, as most of us are, of ignoring this good advice sometimes. But I am trying to change…” Thank you for being a part of the Florida Trail Association. Here’s hoping for many more successful years.
Carlos Schomaker FTA President
Making History by Alex Stigliano, FNST Program Director WHEREAS, by 1969 the Florida Trail Association had achieved its first major milestone by completing a 26-mile trail through the Ocala National Forest, later known as the Florida National Scenic Trail; and WHEREAS, in 1983, Congress added the Florida National Scenic Trail to the National Trail Systems Act of 1968 and appointed the United States Forest Service to oversee its administration; and
From Left to Right: Commissioner Adam Putnam, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Estus Whitfield, Megan Eno, Cynthia Henderson, Governor Rick Scott, Holly Parker, Jim Kern, Alex Stigliano, Sandra Friend, John Keatley, and Howard Pardue.
The Florida Trail is a NonPartisan Public Resource
he political environment in Florida and across the nation has become extraordinarily polarized. It can be very challenging to find common ground to share with those who disagree with and sometimes oppose our own values. But there is one thing we should all be able to agree upon: The Florida Trail is a special public resource that is available to EVERYONE! For that reason, now more than ever, we will endeavor to take advantage of every opportunity to highlight the positive impacts of the Florida Trail. Our many dedicated volunteers work every day to keep the trail available to anyone who wants to experience Florida’s unique and beautiful environmental, historic and cultural resources. It is important to promote our work! We are pleased to report that the Florida Trail Association was honored on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 by the State of Florida with a resolution recognizing the Association’s 50 years of service to the public (see below).
Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Adam Putnam, introduced the Resolution to a meeting of the Governor’s cabinet. It passed unanimously. FTA founder, Jim Kern, spoke of the physical and psychological health benefits of hiking, as well as the importance of completing construction of the entire trail. Commissioner Adam Putnam highlighted the economic impact the Florida National Scenic Trail has on rural Florida communities. Thank you to all who attended in support of the resolution.
WHEREAS, the volunteers of the Florida Trail Association have made diligent progress by building 1,000 miles of the 1,300-mile trail, which extends from Big Cypress National Preserve to Gulf Islands National Seashore and offers a continuous, permanent non-motorized recreation opportunity; and WHEREAS, the Florida Trail Association currently has 18 local chapters located throughout Florida where each year hundreds of volunteers across the nation and the world contribute thousands of hours to building and maintaining the Florida National Scenic Trail; and WHEREAS, the Florida Trail Association through its volunteers, local chapters, staff and Board of Directors continually aim to further its goal of providing meaningful and accessible recreation through hiking to all who want to experience Florida’s natural beauty. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida do hereby recognize the
50th Anniversary of the FLORIDA TRAIL ASSOCIATION
and encourage the citizens of Florida to learn about activities offered by the local trail chapters around the state and get involved in these community-building opportunities.
WHEREAS, the Florida Trail Association is a non-profit, volunteer organization established in 1966 for the purpose of developing, maintaining, protecting and promoting hiking trails in Florida for the benefit and use of its citizens and visitors; and
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF the Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida have hereunto subscribed their names and have caused the Office Seal of the State of Florida to be hereunto affixed in the City of Tallahassee on this 20th day of September, 2016.
Servant’s Celebrations by Karl Borton, Volunteer Program Coordinator
America’s Servant Leaders
By: Karl Borton, Volunteer Program Coordinator
ervant leadership is alive and well on our National Scenic Trails. In 2016 the Florida Trail Association (FTA) hosted two conferences to celebrate the Florida Trail. These events not only celebrated 50 years of trail building and maintenance in Florida, but they also united our diverse stakeholders to inspire and empower them to become better stewards of our public lands. In October the FTA hosted its 50th Anniversary Conference in DeLand. This conference brought together more than 200 citizens, including current and former FTA staff, agency partners, volunteers and Association members. This three-day conference featured national speakers, award-winning nature documentaries and interactive workshops. Highlights included presentations by Fran Mainella, the 16th Director of the National Park Service, Tinelle Bustam, Assistant Director, Recreation, Tourism and Public Services of the US Forest Service, Ben Montgomery, New York Times Best-Selling Author, Sandra Friend and John Keatley, founders of FloridaHikes.com, and REI, a national outdoor retailer. Then in November staff representing the 11 National Scenic Trails met in Pensacola for professional development, training and workshops. This week-long event was hosted by the Partnership for the National Trails System to help staff and agencies better serve their public missions. Together, staff from various organizations discussed the future of America’s National Scenic Trails. Common to both conferences was the theme of servant leadership, and how environmental stewards could use their individual influence to protect and promote our unique wildlands. We put this ideology to action with REI (Jacksonville) by helping to blaze a path through Camp Blanding on the Florida Trail. On a Sunday morning 16 REI employees hit the trail to maintain a 3-mile segment.
Florida Trail Association
As the FTA closes out its 50th Anniversary year, it’s important to remember that it’s not just the sum of one, but it’s the collective spirit of our community that continues to ensure that our connected trail system remains open to the public. Many thanks to our environmental stewards who continue to donate to, volunteer with and advocate on behalf of the Florida Trail and the 10 other National Scenic Trails. 2018 is a big year for the National Scenic Trails community; not only is it the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act (NSTA) of 1968, but it’s also an opportunity for us to use our influence to connect, inspire and motivate the next generation of trail stewards. I’d encourage all of our readers to use your circle of influence in 2017 to build momentum for the NTSA of 1968 celebration. Together we’re stronger; so go out, explore and share your experiences! You can do this by tagging your adventures on social media, using the official #FindYourTrail hashtag, by inviting others to hike or serve on our National Scenic Trails and by voicing and/or pledging your support for our wildlands through the following 12 nonprofit organizations.
Carolyn Fost accepts her 25-year membership award
Exploring historic FTA newspapers at the 50th Anniversary Conference
Linda Benton showcases her legendary Florida Trail quilts
Tom Daniel accepts his Lifetime Achievement Award
Volunteers Andrea and Amanda grind coffee with REI
Shawn Thomas, USFS, accepts Nels Parson’s Friend of the FTA award
BUILD. MAINTAIN. PROTECT. PROMOTE.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, appalachiantrail.org The Arizona Trail Association, aztrail.org The Continental Divide Coalition, continentaldividetrail.org The Ice Age Trail Alliance, iceagetrail.org The Florida Trail Association, floridatrail.org The Natchez Trace Parkway Association, natcheztrace.org The New England Trail, newenglandtrail.org
The North County Trail Association, northcountrytrail.org The Pacific Crest Trail Association, pcta.org The Pacific Northwest Trail Association, pnt.org The Partnership for the National Trails System, pnts.org The Potomac Heritage Trail Association, potomactrail.org
Don Mock soliciting feedback on the FTA maps and data book. Footprint
Judy Minter accepts her 25-year membership award
BIG THINGS IN SMALL PACKAGES
Dawn Griffin accepts her Activity Leader Award 10
Florida Trail Association
You don’t need to be a huge celebrity to enact positive change. Take Cubby Treks for example. At only 8 years old this aspiring thru-hiker hopes to inspire others to go out and explore the world. She’ll do this by hiking the #FloridaTrail and by blogging about her adventures online. Through social media Cubby hopes to showcase Florida’s wild landscapes, while also inspiring others to #OptOutside. FloridaTrail.org
REI-Jacksonville led workshops and demonstrations on camp coffee and backcountry gear
Members of the US Forest Service, National Park Service and the FTA pose next to the new Fort Pickens Kiosk Footprint
Unveiling the new Northern Terminus Marker on the Florida National Scenic Trail Fall 2016
Florida Trail Association
Follow Cubbyâ€™s adventures on Facebook! facebook.com/cubbytreks
Wandering Wildlife by Whitney Gray, Certified Ecologist
THE GREAT FLORIDA BIRDING AND WILDLIFE TRAIL
rom the Everglades to Pensacola, the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail is in synch with the Florida National Scenic Trail. The GFBWT, a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is really more of a network. Over 500 sites across the state carry the swallow-tailed kite emblem designating them as one of the premier birding and wildlife viewing sites in the state. Developed in the late 1990s, the GFBWT was inspired by the Great Texas Birding Trail. Now the Trail includes national and state parks and forests, water management district conservation areas, National Wildlife Refuges, city and county parks, and even nature trails on college campuses and military bases. Trail guides, printed and electronic, are available to help curious wanderers find sites. An updated website, www.FloridaBirdingTrail.com, provides many resources to help you get where you’re going and learn about what you might see there.
Florida Trail Association
Let’s take a quick tour of several GFBWT sites along the Florida Scenic Trail. Since the weather is finally cooling off, let’s start in the southern part of the state.
Rotenberger Wildlife Management Area First purchased by the state in 1975, this WMA was named for Ray Rotenberger who constructed a small camp and airfield there during the late 1950s or early 1960s as private mineral interests drilled an exploratory oil well nearby. Now, although the marsh is most easily traversed by airboats and tracked vehicles, the network of levees and canals constructed for flood control and water supply between 1949 and 1962 are well-suited to hiking, and provide scenic opportunities for wildlife viewing. Swallow-tailed kites, redshouldered hawks, rails and a variety of wading birds, water birds and waterfowl are common. Wood storks, ibises, great blue herons, snowy egrets and cattle egrets occur year-round. Watch for
an influx of waterfowl like American wigeon and ring-necked duck in the winter. Other native wildlife common on the area include alligators, white-tailed deer, bobcats, raccoons and marsh rabbits. The endangered Florida panther is an occasional visitor to the area.
Seminole State Forest The immense Seminole State Forest is a tract of wild lands in the Wekiva River Basin in which you might gladly lose yourself. Wildlife habitats include scrub, sandhills, flatwoods, hammocks, swamp and seasonal ponds, plus hidden springs and the scenic Blackwater Creek. The forest contains 21 miles of hiking trails full of a great variety of birds and wildlife: Florida scrub-jays and red-headed woodpeckers in the south part of the forest; hairy woodpeckers and brown-headed nuthatches in the north; limpkins along Blackwater Creek; and indigo buntings in the woods. Butterflies abound as well, especially this time of year when wildflowers are blooming. Look for spicebush swallowtails, phaon crescents and fiery skippers.
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge With more than 300 recorded bird species, it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that St. Marks NWR is regarded as one of the best birding sites in Florida. The helipad accessed from the primitive hiking trail is good for wintering Henslow’s sparrow. East River Pool is spectacular–look for wintering vermilion flycatchers in the roadside trees, and at dusk, big flocks of wading birds flyover. Stoney Bayou Pool and the Mounds Pools hold over 20 species of waterfowl in winter and over 20 species of shorebird during migration. Stoney Bayou #2 and Mounds Pool #3 provide the best opportunity
to see American black bucks in Florida (December to February is best). Headquarters Pond is good for purple gallinule and black-crowned night-herons. At the roadâ€™s terminus at the lighthouse, look for wintering waterbirds. One or two redthroated loons are recorded annually. Lighthouse pond can have large numbers of wintering ducks including canvasback. Butterfly viewing is best here in fall, especially September and October. Monarch butterflies congregate on their fall migration to Mexico. Along Lighthouse Drive, keep your eyes open for alligators, bobcats, river otters and Florida black bears. St. Marks NWR is one of the GFBWTâ€™s gateway sites, so stop in the nature center and borrow some binoculars.
Gulf Islands National Seashore The Naval Live Oaks area of the Gulf Islands National Seashore was first purchased by the United States government in 1828. By that time, the wood from live oak trees was valued for ship building, and President John Quincy Adams authorized the establishment of the first and only federal tree farm at the site. Today these trees provide food and shelter to hordes of birds migrating north in the spring from South America. Coastal areas like GINS are often their first stop after flying all night across the Gulf of Mexico. In the fall and winter, look for waterfowl like redhead, bufflehead and red-breasted merganser. The park contains 12 unique places to visit and explore including forts, beaches, campgrounds and of course, hiking trails! Enjoy fall hiking along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail! Whitney Gray is a Certified Ecologist and Coordinator, Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 620 Meridian, MS 5B4, Tallahassee, FL 32399. Visit FloridaBirdingTrail.com for more information. 16
Florida Trail Association
Pioneering Blaze by Karl Borton, Volunteer Program Coordinator
Jim Kern, cutting the ribbon with Carl Bauer and Carlos Schomaker
Historic Ceremony To Honor The First Blaze On The Florida National Scenic Trail
he Florida Trail Association (FTA) and the US Forest Service held a historic ceremony to dedicate a new Florida Heritage Site Marker, and to honor the creation of the Florida Trail. This public ceremony was held on Saturday, October 29, 11am (EST) at the Clearwater Lake Recreation Area trailhead. The ceremony began with an introduction and reading of the heritage site marker by Carlos Schomaker, President of the FTA Board of Directors. The ceremony also included reflections from Jim Kern, founder of the FTA, remarks from the US Forest Service and a ceremonial blazing of the trail. The event was immediately followed by a hike, led by the Florida Trail Association volunteers from the Highlanders Chapter. A hearty thank you to all of the volunteers and members who contributed to the installation of this Historical Marker. Great work!
Carlos Schomaker reads the heritage site marker 18
Florida Trail Association
Jim Kern, founder of the Florida Trail Association
The first blaze
The Florida Heritage Site Marker reads as follows: BIRTH OF THE FLORIDA TRAIL ___ . . . ___ On October 29, 1966, Jim Kern, founder of the Florida Trail Association, and like-minded hiking enthusiasts began building the Florida Trail at the entrance to Clearwater Lake Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest. The first 26-mile section, completed in 1969, extended northwest through the forest from here to State Road 40. In 1983, the Florida Trail earned Congressional recognition, and was designated the Florida National Scenic Trail under the National Trails System Act of 1968. The Florida Trail is one of eleven National Scenic Trails and one of three contained within a single state. As of the 50th anniversary of the trail in 2016, more than 1000 miles of continuous trail have been completed through the efforts of many volunteers. The trail spans the length of the state from Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida to Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Panhandle, with a spur trail into Alabama, connecting it to a national trail network from Florida to the Canadian border. Each year many thousands of Floridians and visitors from around the world discover the “real Florida” while walking this footpath that passes through the state’s varied ecosystems.
Walking Words by Doug Alderson, Apalachee Chapter
I walk the trail
Worked by a thousand hands People who planned, blazed and bridged Cleared and cleared again. Many hands, many hours Year after year… Yet, on my walk, solitude Only the pine-needled path And deer prints And bird songs A soft breeze. You did this for me And for many others True service Thank you!
American Hiking Society AmericanHiking.org
Doug Alderson’s articles and photographs have been featured in Native Peoples, Wildlife Conservation, American Forests, Sea Kayaker, Sierra, Mother Earth News, Shaman’s Drum, Campus Life, America, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Florida Naturalist, Florida Sportsman, Tallahassee Magazine, Florida Wildlife and several others. He has won two national writing awards for his magazine features and several Florida writing competitions. In addition to newspaper and magazine articles, Doug has authored several books including Wild Florida Adventures, Simon’s Wondrous Garden, The Great Florida Seminole Trail, Wild Florida Waters, Waters Less Traveled, The Ghost Orchid Ghost and Other Tales From the Swamp, The Vision Keepers: Walking For Native Americans and the Earth, New Dawn for the Kissimmee River, Encounters with Florida’s Endangered Wildlife and Seminole Freedom. Doug is currently the assistant bureau chief for Florida’s Office of Greenways and Trails. He lives south of Tallahassee with his wife, Cyndi, and daughter, Cheyenne. Please enjoy Doug’s website, www.dougalderson.net.
20 Florida Trail Association
Volunteer Spotlight by Karl Borton, Volunteer Program Coordinator
MITCH SAPP Sandhill Chapter
itchel Sapp, Mitch as his friends call him, has deep roots in Florida. Among the slash pines, palmettos and sandy forest floors he developed an early appreciation for nature by embracing the Tom Sawyer lifestyle of living in huts, building rafts, hunting wild game, gathering edible plants and finding adventures in the wild spaces that surrounded his familyâ€™s homestead. In his adult life he worked as a General Contractor and later for the University of Florida as a Maintenance Supervisor. He retired in 2002, and hiked more than 200 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Today, he serves as the Chapter Chair of the Sandhill Chapter.
What was your childhood like? I was born in Gainesville and grew up on a country farm outside Trenton. My grandfather was a farmer and my father was a carpenter. So we farmed, we raised livestock and we built anything that we needed.
Describe living on the farm? Living on the farm was idyllic. It was like living in the Huckleberry Finn novel. We built huts in the woods, we hunted and fished and we enjoyed the outdoor lifestyle. Growing up in the woods allowed me to learn more about the environment and how we could take from it, while also protecting its resources for future generations.
What happened after your childhood? Like most folks I went to work. I did a semester at the University of Florida, but dropped out to join the workforce. I simply made too much money as a General Contractor and became certified in the State of Florida. I could build anything but a bridge, and thatâ€™s what I did. Afterwards, I worked as a Maintenance Supervisor at the University of Florida, where I was in charge of various buildings on campus for 17 years. Then in 2002, after retirement, I started to work on my bucket list, and endeavored to hike the Appalachian Trail. I hiked 220 miles until I was called by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to serve a three-year mission.
How did you serve the Mormon Church? I served by teaching genealogy classes to church leaders. These classes were designed to train church staff to conduct genealogy surveys, using resources provided by the Mormon Church.
Hiking Sweetwater Wetlands Afterwards, I returned and served another five years at the Orlando temple as an ordinance volunteer. Once a week my wife and I went down and served in the temple. Later we again served a 24-month service mission in the SE area of Florida, Georgia and Alabama as Auditor Trainers for the Morman Church. While endeavoring in this service, we learned to travel on a shoestring budget in our RV.
What inspired you to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the first place? I was driven by a desire to be outside, and by the desire to prove to myself that I could do it. It was more of an ego thing. If other people could do it at age 65, then why couldnâ€™t I? So I did it. I hiked the AT, until I was called to serve.
How can you describe your AT experience? As I hiked the ridgelines along the AT, I saw diverse landscapes and environmental impacts from mankind. I was surrounded by the immense beauty of the green tunnel, and also by the impacts of agricultural, industrial and commercial development. This mile-high view of the world gave me a better appreciation for how we were preserving it, and how we were degrading it. While this beautiful trail existed, I knew that man’s impact was harming our natural environments. This experience really drove me to action, years later, when I joined the Florida Trail Association (FTA).
Do you feel like you’ll return to complete the AT? From a realistic viewpoint, no I probably won’t. If it was just me; I’d be up there hiking. But these days I enjoy spending time with my wife, with my friends and with my family.
How did you fall in love with nature? Was it through the AT? No. I grew up with nature. My mother was a horticulturalist, my father was a farmer and my maternal grandfather was a horticulturalist specialist at the University of Florida. My family knew all the plants and animals, and it was a part of our life.
What was your first big adventure in nature? Going hunting with my father and brothers in the forest; they hunted and I looked for Native American artifacts.
Did you find any artifacts? Yes I did! Arrow heads, hatchets, pot chards, etc. You name it and I have probably found it at some point. When I was a kid I dreamed of being an anthropologist/archeologist. Funny enough the anthropologist/archeologist became a hiker.
What was your fascination with the artifacts? They were something where man took a natural object and made a useful tool out of it. I find this fascinating. I have since learned the techniques of flint knapping and made numerous points. 22
Florida Trail Association
Hiking Suwannee Why do you like to hike? Hiking allows me to stay at 205 pounds, and it helps me to have an open and an agile mind that forces ideas on me.
What other bucket list items do you have? I wanted to visit a pyramid, and sail around Florida in a sailboat. I’ve hiked pyramids in Central America, but I have yet to sail the state. I still have a wanderlust spirit, and after I got off the Appalachian Trail I discovered that I really liked it; so I sought out more information about the Florida Trail and the FTA, and became a Sandhill chapter member.
How did you first become involved with the Florida Trail? After discovering the Florida Trail, I visited the office, became a chapter member, attended some hikes and FloridaTrail.org
eventually volunteered to become the interim Chapter Chair. This position has since become a long-standing position.
What do you love about hiking in Florida? I enjoy renewing my love of natural Florida. I like being able to explain things to newbies who are hiking with us. I enjoy introducing the trail to people and showing them the places that I enjoy. When you query members and ask: “What do you like about Mitch’s hikes?;” They often say that I know a lot about Florida and about the Florida Trail. Of course, I learned all this from hiking and surrounding myself with individuals that could teach me more about the trail. Today, I know a little bit about Florida’s flora and fauna, what ecosystems exist and what the trail is like to hike. I feel like I learned a lot from others, and now I’m excited to pass on my knowledge base to the next generation of hikers.
lead better hikes. At first she wanted to take the group down any road - to the left or the right - it didn’t matter. And she often got lost. But she was eager to learn, and I recognized that she had talent. I mentored her, took her on hikes and now she leads hikes without any assistance. She’s a great trip leader and a real asset to the FTA. When we invest in people, we empower them to succeed.
What is your favorite chapter presentations? I love learning more about the flora and fauna of Florida. I’ve heard a talk on birding, on the Florida panther and even on the various types of trees. Did you know that some trees are as strong as steel! I enjoy all presentations, but it’s fascinating to learn more about Florida’s diverse wildlife, plants and ecosystems.
You are also an Activity Leader; what are your favorite hikes on the Florida Trail? Holton Creek on the Suwannee River and Camp Blanding in North Florida are two of my favorite hikes. These landscapes remind me of my childhood homestead and the forests that I grew up in. These hikes feature old-growth oak trees with expansive branches and woodlands that seem endless. It’s like déjà vu to my childhood. On the farm I grew up in a 160-acre forest that was a mix of virgin and second-growth timbers. Those trees were massive! Holton Creek and Camp Blanding both feature similar landscapes. So that’s why I love hiking on these sections of the Florida Trail.
Barr Hammocks South As a new hiker; what do you think drives people to nature? I believe people enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and the comradery of the people that they hike with. I believe they hike to get away from the city, and to really take in the birds and the bees, the sights and the scenes. It’s an escape from the reality of their worldviews, and it’s an opportunity to connect with a passion that is already ingrained in each of us.
What do you love about serving as a Chapter Chair? I’ve always been sort of a leader. Wherever I go, whatever I do; I’m a leader. There’s just something inherent about it and about me. Whether I’m a good leader or a bad leader; I’ll let someone else decide that. But as a leader I serve to take care of the needs of fellow hikers, so that they can enjoy what they’re doing in the Chapter.
What draws in new chapter members? Some like to hike, some like to bike and some like to paddle. Our chapter hosts diverse activities that continue to draw people in; once people are connected with other like-minded hikers, they continue to come out, get involved and serve as volunteers.
What do you think keeps volunteers happy? Mentorship. Judy Trotta did that for me. She helped me understand what was going on by giving me information. She knows the Florida Trail better than most people; maybe even better than Jim Kern – our founder. I think mentorship is important to success. As an example I recently trained an Activity Leader to
Outside of the Florida Trail; what is your favorite hike or excursion? One of my favorite hikes is through the Andrews Wildlife Management Area. This private preserve is my favorite because it is virtually untouched by mankind. The family has owned the land for more than a 150 years, and in that time they have mostly hunted on it. If they needed timber they would cut one timber tree down and that was it. They didn’t clear cut the forest, and even today you can see virgin timber, much like the trees I remember from my youth.
What was the strangest trip that you ever took? To walk where Jesus walked in the city of Jerusalem – the Holy Land. That was one of my bucket list items. I saw all those places that you can read about in the scriptures. You can see the city where the Lord was born, where he died, where he stopped on his way to the cross. You can see Damascus. You can see the Sea of Galilee. You can stand on the place where the Lord will return, and you can see the gates of the city of Jerusalem. To go there was a spiritual experience for me.
What do you do when you’re not hiking? I’m a stamp collector. I’ve been a stamp collector for years and I have a room full of stamps. In my office, three of the four walls are lined with stamp albums. None are expensive, but all are unique and I enjoy collecting them. My other passions include family history research on the Sapp and Lord families in the US and England. I hope someday to walk the paths of my ancestors in the English countryside.
Ensure the Florida Trail’s Future.
Remember the Florida Trail Association in your will. Contact FTA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 352-378-8823. Florida Trail Association is a Proud Partner with Warrior Hike
Sweetwater Preserve What is your favorite stamp? The inverted Jenny. But, I don’t have a million dollars! In my collection, I love my #1 English stamp (1840) and my #1 American stamp (1847). These stamps were the first stamps issued in these countries. On the American stamp there’s an image of Benjamin Franklin and on the English an image of Queen Victoria. And as you know, Franklin was the first Post Master General of the United States. I attend two to three stamp shows a year, and so my collection continues to grow! And that’s why I work as an Uber driver; I have to earn more money to buy more stamps!
What other hobbies do you have? I enjoy collecting projectile points and Native American artifacts.
Do you enjoy hiking alone or in a group? I like hiking in a group, and at my age I wouldn’t recommend hiking alone. I like to always have four people in a group. One to go for help and two to assist you in the backcountry.
Are you a hunter or a gatherer? Warrior Hike supports combat veterans transitioning from their military service by thru-hiking America’s National Scenic Trails.
WarriorHike.org 24 Florida Trail Association
Gatherer. I hand out three to four brochures a week to college students at the University of Florida. Like I said, I enjoy introducing people to nature, and as such I gather people to hike our trails.
What is your next big adventure? I’d like to head north and finish the Appalachian Trail. It’s still on my bucket list. FloridaTrail.org
News from the North by Jeff Glenn, North Florida Regional Representative
MAINTENANCE RUSH The Relentless Efforts To Preserve The Trail
n the height of trail maintenance season, it can be hard to relax and appreciate the slowness of the trail. Time to sit by the trailside, the riverbank, and the prairie are often cut short by the necessity to work, sweat, and labor over an overgrown trail corridor or a finicky piece of equipment. It is a curse of the trail worker who has developed ‘trail eyes’ over the course of many seasons to never see a path in the same way, always noticing the work that needs done, studying the rate of growth from year to year, or simply narrowly focused on the task at hand. But one worker’s curse is another’s treasure, and thank the stars for that. Without volunteers to relish in the annual maintenance rush, the trail would surely disappear into Florida wildness, known only to soft and silent deer tracks. It would take no more than two seasons to completely lose the trail in some places if not for the steady hum of a mower, or the intense energy of a chainsaw crew. Trails are never easy to maintain, anywhere, period. Some
trails are in vast and remote wildernesses and involve heavy rock work, some are prone to heavy erosion, and some have 12 month growing seasons. I have had the pleasure of doing trail work all over the United A weary trail worker takes a break States and there is no from work on a beautiful fall afternoon doubt that trail work in Florida is harder than anywhere else, period. Many would argue that new trail construction, or heavy rock work, or wilderness work, would be more physically challenging than running machinery on the Florida Trail, but there is much more than just the physical nature of the work. What makes the work so demanding and challenging in our state is the constant nature of it. We are faced with maintaining every mile of trail, every single year, forever. Perhaps moving boulders is in fact easier than this? On other trails throughout the country, sections of trail are put on the back burner for many years before a work crew can get to them, and work projects often focus on very specific problems. A truly Sisyphean task, our job is relentless, never-ending, and often feels like a losing battle against the encroaching forest. To take on a lifelong project like this demonstrates the gumption, grit, and dedication of the FTA volunteer force. “Maintenance Rush” is an appropriate way to describe the fall season in north Florida. Starting at the end of September with the Trail Skills Training, the 5 chapters working in the North Florida region are constantly working, nearly every week, to clear the spring and summer growth from the trail. There are 7 scheduled staff-led Volunteer Work Parties in the region, and that does not include the countless weekend work hikes and chapter led events throughout the season. By the new year, almost all 300 miles in the region will be maintained to standard thanks to this push by our volunteers and staff.
Here are some highlights of the 2016 trail season so far:
hundreds of volunteer hours to the mission this season, and introducing the FTA trail maintenance program to many new faces that will hopefully be part of the future of our organization.
Board member Leslie Wheeler, a brush cutting aficionado, hard at work on the trail
FTA’s Central/South Regional Representative Kelly Weiner showing off some new trail signage on the Ocala National Forest OCALA NATIONAL FOREST – BLACK BEAR CHAPTER The Ocala is the most backpacked section of the entire Florida Trail. There are one hundred miles of hiking without road walks. For this and other reasons, hikers flock there and the trail is maintained to a standard representative of its popularity and stature. The Black Bear Chapter will host 4 separate event on the forest this season, recording
OSCEOLA NATIONAL FOREST – NORTH FLORIDA TRAIL BLAZERS Usually the Osceola section of the trail is extremely wet this time of year, but in a rare year when the trail is dry, it makes the maintenance a bit easier. The 21 miles of trail took a week to maintain with a solid crew of Osceola “regulars.” The galberry and palmetto were as thick as they ever were and the grasses were the usual knee high. I often refer to the Osceola National Forest as a house of mirrors; sometimes, no matter which direction you face, the forest repeats itself in color, texture, and density. If there was no trail to guide hikers, one could easily get lost in these completely flat woods.
Joel Hickox clearing the trail near Ocean Pond
Florida Trail Association
Chainsaws need constant tuning up when being used for many days on end
ETONIAH CREEK STATE FOREST Hurricanes Hermine and Michael wreaked havoc on the FNST on the eastern flanks of the trail through Rice Creek Conservation Area and Etoniah Creek State Forest located in Putnam County. Between both of those hurricanes, hundreds of trees came down within a 10-mile stretch of trail. A small crew of 3 volunteers with the assistance of the FTA Technical Advisors were able to clear the trail and once again make it accessible to the public. Work is scheduled to repair many structures inside of Rice Creek Conservation area including Hoffman’s Crossing, the longest continuous structure on the FNST – 1,910 feet long! The trail has been fortunate in the past decade when it comes to hurricane damage, but this year, unfortunately, we faced back to back storms which has made the maintenance difficult. Please Check out our Website for More Upcoming Volunteer Work Parties!
Trail Talk by Kelly Wiener, Central and South Regional Representative
4th Annual Trail Skills Training
ur 4th annual Trail Skills Training was a resounding success! This three-day, hands-on training is designed to empower volunteers to run their own trail maintenance crews, known as Volunteer Work Parties. The weekend included two days of classroom-style workshops and one field day, where participants split into 10 crews and shadowed experienced crew leaders in the Ocala National Forest. This year we had 68 attendees from across the state who participated in 8 different workshops, and maintained 20 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail. The training prepared new and experienced volunteers to have a safe, productive and fun season on the trail. Participants walked away with new skills, new friends and a rekindled excitement for the upcoming season. Workshops covered a wide range of topics, including “hard skills” such as tool sharpening, motorized equipment maintenance, emergency evacuations, first aid kit preparation, Leave No Trace principles and meal planning. They also covered the “soft skills” of trail work, including volunteer motivation, conflict resolution, volunteer retention, chapter growth strategies, and Volunteer Work Party planning, promotion and documentation. One of the highlights of this year’s training was a new partnership between the FTA and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC). Since 1984, VOC has been motivating and enabling people to become active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources. VOC works with conservation and land agencies and relies on thousands of people annually to
provide a volunteer workforce for outdoor stewardship projects including trail construction and maintenance. Two of VOC’s seasoned crew leaders, Steve West and Kim Frederick, joined us at Trail Skills Training to teach a shortened version of their Stewardship Training Program’s Volunteer Leadership/Crew Leading class. VOC’s Outdoor Stewardship Institute (OSI) provides leading outdoor stewardship training to volunteers, land management agencies, and other stewardship organizations in Colorado and around the country. OSI’s training courses help participants learn new skills and prepare for a variety of leadership roles. Steve and Kim’s exercises focused on the “soft skills” of leading volunteers. They asked participants to consider how best to motivate volunteers, how to communicate objectives to different types of learners and how to resolve conflicts in a productive way.
Jeff Glenn going over the day’s plan
Below is a conversation with Steve West, one of the VOC instructors who taught at this year’s Trail Skills Training.
How did you first get involved in trail work?
I was moping around at work and a co-worker was tired of it. After seeing a newspaper article about Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC), the co-worker thought I would enjoy volunteering with VOC. Certainly volunteering was way out of my comfort zone and was the last thing I would have thought of doing. The VOC project was at the Molly Murphy mine and was a “planting” project to mitigate heavy metals leaching from the mine. It was really hard work. I discovered that the other volunteers that were at the project were really interesting people from all different backgrounds. The common thread was wanting to give something back to Colorado. After the hard work day, a satisfying meal was and prepared served by volunteers. After dinner, free passes to the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs were part of our appreciation gift for volunteering. After this weekend, I was hooked and wanted to become more involved with VOC, so I decided that becoming a VOC trained Crew Leader would be the next step.
Tell us a little about your role at VOC. VOC has a project team for every project. Over the past 25 years I have had the privilege of volunteering for most of the project team roles:
Technical Adviser (TA)- Designs the layout of the project and scopes the work of the project and is the quality authority of the project Crew Leader Manager-Assigns CL and volunteers to each section of project.
Tool Manager- Makes sure that all of the tools that the TA wants on the project are loaded into the truck. Also loads all of the food and stuff needed for the care and feeding of the volunteers
Crew Leader- The volunteer who has the most impact of the enjoyment that each volunteer has on the project.
Today I lead small crews in the Mt. Evans Wilderness and the Lost Creek Wilderness areas. Leading these crews involves all of the roles of a VOC project team 28 Florida Trail Association
Kelly Wiener, FTA Staff, demonstrates correct blaze painting on the Florida Trail
What did you think of the trail work in Florida, compared to your previous experience?
It is really hard to compare trail work between The Florida Trail Association (FTA) and VOC. Each organization is dedicated to building and maintaining trails that support sustainability using volunteers. FTA uses mostly mechanical tools to maintain the trail. VOC uses only hand tools for trail work: Pulaski, shovel, McLeod, pick mattock and rock bars. Environmentally the two areas are completely different. The Florida Trail is less than 100 feet above sea level, is hot and humid and vegetation growth is staggering. VOC works on trails that are at least 5280 feet above sea level and as much as 14, 200 feet above sea level. Looking at what water does to an existing trail is what determines maintenance.
What do you love about leading crews?
Having a volunteer say that they had the best time doing very hard work with a big smile on their face. Secondly, a volunteer comes to another project and wants to work on my crew. Finally, when a volunteer asks “how can I become more involved with VOC”. FloridaTrail.org
teve West has been a volunteer with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) since 1991, having participated in over 250 projects. Since 2000 he has primarily led crews in the Mt. Evans and Lost Creek Wilderness areas outside Denver. He has been an VOC Crew Leader instructor since 1994 and a Master instructor with the Outdoor Stewardship Institute (OSI) since its inception. Extensive trail maintenance, building drainage structures, rock walls and steps are his trail expertise. This past spring, he was designated a “C” sawyer/instructor (crosscut saw) for the USFS. The American Hiking Society and the Ice Trail Association (3 times) have had Steve as a Crew Leader instructor. This training involved both leadership (soft) skills as well as trail construction and maintenance (hard) skills Interesting fact: Steve’s wife Ronda was his instructor in 1992 at a VOC Crew Leader training. Steve currently is employed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems and is set to retire in December after 31 years.
What do you think is the biggest challenge in leading crews?
Effective communication. It is easy to move dirt, but much more difficult in communicating with volunteers on how to accomplish a task. People hear and learn in different ways and at different paces. As a CL it is your job to be aware of how a volunteer hears and understands what you are trying to communicate to them. A CL really must understand the hearing and learning differences in order to effectively communicate with the volunteers. The training that OSI conducted with the FTA CL provides a basis for CL to use in help volunteers feel rewarded in completing their section of trail.
Can you tell us about your most rewarding trail crew experience?
Many years ago my niece, who was in high school at the time, was able to attend a VOC project with my wife and I. There were not any kids her age that were at the project, but she had a blast. Move forward to today and she is head of a nonprofit in Estes Park, Co, Estes Valley Watershed Coalition. She remembered how much fun she had on VOC projects and what volunteers can accomplish if given the right leadership, she attended the OSI Crew Leader this past spring. She was able to take the skills she learned at the OSI CL training to organize 300 high school students to help rebuild an ecosystem that was devastated by floods in 2013. It is very gratifying to be able to pass on to the next generation the volunteer ethic to give back to the community.
Any tips on how to best empower volunteers to become successful crew leaders?
Ask. Volunteers come out on a project for a variety of reasons. Some will want to become more involved with FTA but may not know how. The FTA CL needs to ask the volunteer to become a CL.
What advice would you give to a new crew leader?
Treat each and every volunteer as the most important resource on the project. Praise the work they are doing, make sure that they a safe, be enthusiastic and donâ€™t pretend you know everything. Involve your volunteers in the project process, they may have a better way of doing something.
The Florida National Scenic Trail is a federallydesignated, non-motorized, recreation trail that meanders approximately 1,300 miles across some of the most beautiful, unique landscapes in the entire country. For up to date information visit the U.S. Forest Service online at http://www.FS.USDA.gov/FNST
Interested in attending the 2017 Trail Skills Training? Save the date!
FTA Partners with
September 29 to October 1, 2017
have been employed with Jefferson County Open Space since 1978 located in the foothills west of Denver, Colorado. As the Open Space Trails Supervisor I am responsible for the maintenance and construction of over 230 miles of non-motorized trails in the foothills west of Denver. This trail system experiences over 1.5 million visitors per year. In the early 1980â€™s I created Chinook Associates LLC. A recreational and natural resource consulting Kim Frederick company, Chinook Associates works closely with individuals, organizations and agencies to develop and implement comprehensive trail and natural resource management plans to improve the quality of the land the administer. As a Master Instructor with the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado I have worked closely with a wide variety of agencies and organizations developing and implementing land stewardship and trail trainings at locations throughout the United States Mexico, Italy and Lebanon.
1031 33rd Street, Ste 210 Denver, CO 80205 303-772-2723 http://www.EWB-USA.org/ See us in action on facebook http://j.mp/LSU_EWB
FTA Volunteer Chapters List of Florida Trail Association Chapters ALLIGATOR AMBLERS CHAPTER Charlotte, Collier, and Lee Carl Kepford 239-253-4255 AA Sub Chapter FISHEATING CREEK Glades and Hendry Margaret England 863-674-0695 APALACHEE CHAPTER Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, and Wakulla Dawn Brown 850-668-0091 BIG CYPRESS CHAPTER Miami-Dade and Monroe David Denham 305-667-8643 BLACK BEAR CHAPTER Flagler, Putnam, and Volusia Linda Taylor 386-774-0734
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. For more information about chapters and links to websites/meetups/photos go online to FloridaTrail.org/about-us/chapters/ then select the chapter
CENTRAL FLORIDA CHAPTER Orange, Seminole, and Osceola Bill Turman 407-359-8318 CHOCTAWHATCHEE CHAPTER Walton and Okaloosa Richard Kersten 850-683-0803 SANDHILL CHAPTER Alachua, Levy, Gilcrist, and Marion Mitch Sapp 352-332-2065 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 Gene Bouley 352-314-9335 INDIAN RIVER CHAPTER Brevard and Indian River Richard Loudon 321-638-8804 LOXAHATCHEE CHAPTER Palm Beach Roy Moore 561-422-2189 NORTH FLA TRAILBLAZERS CHAPTER Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, and Union Tracey Tyrrell 904-910-1397 30
Florida Trail Association
PANHANDLE CHAPTER Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, and Washington Mary Gauden 850-250-6698
SUWANNEE CHAPTER Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee, and Taylor Norm McDonald 904-776-1920
SUNCOAST CHAPTER Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota Sue Bunge 727-504-8574
TROPICAL TREKKERS CHAPTER Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie Jim Couillard 772-485-8367
WESTERN GATE CHAPTER Escambia and Santa Rosa Helen Wigersma 850-484-0528
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Florida Trail Association Footprint Fall 2016