October is Florida Greenways and Trails Month
Join us in celebrating Florida Greenways and Trails Month. Every October we take the time to recognize and highlight the many outdoor recreational opportunities that are available in Florida. Greenways and Trails help to advance Florida’s economy, tourism, health, alternative transportation, recreation, conservation and quality of life.
This October, the Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT) is focusing on the statewide network of greenways and trails by developing the new vision for the Florida Greenways and Trails System (FGTS)
. The new FGTS Plan is being amended to establish priorities and define the role of the Office of Greenways and Trails and its many partners. This is the first update to the FGTS Plan since adoption of the original plan by the Florida Legislature over a decade ago.
The FGTS maps developed by OGT in coordination with the Florida Greenways and Trails Council, federal, state and regional agency partners, local governments and allied organizations are also being updated. Public Open Houses are being held throughout the state to receive public comments. We will continue to take public comments on the plan through October 5. By getting involved and offering input, you can be a part of Florida’s Greenways and Trails vision.
For details about the plan and more information, visit the FGTS webpage
Bridging the Gaps - Connecting Communities
New Sections Open for Two State Rail-Trails on Florida’s East Coast
Just in time for Florida Greenways and Trails Month, St. Johns County welcomes an additional five miles of trail to the existing area trail network, which includes the 260-mile St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop and the East Coast Greenway. The Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail
extension, also known as the State Road 207 Rail-Trail, effectively serves as a multimodal transportation connector for the towns of Armstrong and Spuds. In the same region, Putnam County has taken an opportunity to close trail gaps throughout downtown Palatka by linking the PSAST to the Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail
, managed by the Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Recreation and Parks.
Recognizing the importance of connecting communities and giving citizens alternative transportation choices, the Florida Department of Transportation additionally completed two 8.5-mile segments of newly developed trail along the same corridor. The PLBST sector stretches more than 47 miles from the vicinity of State Road 238 in Lake Butler to west of US 17 in Palatka. Purchased with Preservation 2000 funds through the Florida Greenways and Trails Acquisition Program, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
played a key role in preserving the corridor for conversion to a rail-trail, which was designated as part of the Florida Greenways and Trails System in 2007.
Improvements are Underway for the Lehigh Greenway Rail-Trail
Trailhead improvements have begun for the Lehigh Greenway Rail-Trail
. Late last month, Flagler County officials and area citizens gathered to witness the highly anticipated ground breaking ceremony for the Lehigh Greenway Rail-Trail Trailhead addendum.
Lehigh Trail is located in Flagler County on approximately eight miles of abandoned railroad corridor land. The property was originally purchased in December 2000 for $280,000, with funds provided by the state’s Internal Improvement Trust Fund. Money to develop the trail came from a federal grant issued by the Florida Department of Transportation, as did the current monies that support the present trailhead expansion project.
In February 2002, the county entered into a sublease with DEP and now manages the Lehigh Greenway Rail-Trail which is now part of the overall network of Florida's greenways and trails. In December 2008, the trail was fully completed and dedicated to the community at large.
The trailhead located at Belle Terre Parkway and Colbert Lane in Palm Coast (Flagler County), is now being transformed and, when completed in spring 2013, will showcase an area to include a monument sign, 31 parking spaces, bathroom facilities, a pet station, bike racks, trash receptacles, benches and trail signage.
Northeast Florida Welcomes New Timucuan Trail Section
Big Talbot Island State Park
recently opened a nearly three-mile, 10-foot-wide, paved multi-use trail section of the planned 18.1-mile Timucuan Trail in Northeast Florida. The section adds to the existing two miles of paved trail at Little Talbot Island State Park
. The Timucuan Trail route, running from Kathryn Abbey Hannah Park to Amelia Island State Park
, is part of the massive East Coast Greenway
trail project. The East Coast Greenway aims to connect cities and towns of the East Coast from Maine to Key West in a continuous, traffic-free path.
The recently completed Big Talbot section winds through maritime forest of gnarled live oaks, bays and magnolias surrounded by palmetto. Trail users can enjoy access to the beach and learn more about the area’s natural and cultural significance at four interpretive displays funded by Friends of Talbot Islands State Parks
. To learn how you can help support the Friends group, visit the Talbot Island website