Do you dream of biking from coast to coast across Florida on a developed trail system? Or how about hiking the natural Florida National Scenic Trail, paddling Florida’s entire coast or down one of several long rivers with designated campsites 10 to 20 miles apart? These are just some of the trail visions outlined in DEP’s Office of Greenways and Trails 2013-2017 Florida Greenways and Trails System Plan.
The new FGTS Plan, which actively sought public input during six open houses held throughout the state, emphasizes the establishment of clear priorities for coordinating, directing and focusing resources. The Plan also lays out a new framework for systematically “closing gaps” and connecting priority corridors within the FGTS to establish a fully connected and integrated statewide trail network.
“The original 1998 Florida Greenways and Trails Implementation Plan laid the groundwork for numerous programs, projects and initiatives that are a part of the current greenways and trails system. The principles behind the recently completed 2013-2017 FGTS Plan are to not only identify a priority trails network, but to identify the gaps within the system and work closely with our partners to help close these gaps.” says Samantha Browne, Chief, DEP Division of Recreation and Parks, Office of Greenways and Trails.
The FGTS plan complements the missions and plans of several other agencies. For example, multi-modal transportation is a goal shared with the Florida Department of Transportation. Utilizing non-motorized trails for recreation and transportation supports the Department of Health’s Florida State Health Improvements Plan goal to reduce and maintain a healthy weight, as well as promote physical health. In addition, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s promotion of ecological greenways for wildlife and the Department of Economic Opportunity’s goal to identify economic engines for Florida are also included in the FGTS plan. OGT worked closely with these agencies during the development of the FGTS plan and will continue to enhance these partnerships as the system develops.
To view or download the 2013-2017 Florida Greenways and Trails System Plan in its entirety in regular or large print, along with other chronicled data, maps and the original 1998 FGTS Plan, visit FloridaGreenwaysAndTrails.com.
Amelia Island Trail to hold Opening Celebration May 11
Friends of the Amelia Island Trail (AIT) will host an Opening Celebration on Sat., May 11 at the northern trailhead inside Peters Point Beachfront Park to recognize and pay tribute to several public officials whose collaborative efforts with local citizens and area organizations, for more than a decade, played a vital role in making the newly constructed 6.2-mile trail a reality. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will include a ribbon-cutting at 1974 S. Fletcher Ave., in Fernandina Beach.
The scenic, tree-lined AIT, which does not officially open until later this month, has already seen heavy usage by guests. The trail that initially runs adjacent to highway A1A for about one mile from the northern trailhead, near the Ritz Carlton Hotel, begins a game of “peek-a-boo” with A1A as it weaves in and out of the tree line, passing through the Omni Amelia Island Plantation and meandering to the southern trailhead at Amelia Island State Park. The AIT continues onward to Nassau Sound and ultimately merges with the actively expanding Timucuan Trail.
Together this pair helps implement Florida’s section of the East Coast Greenway and also assists in bridging the gaps within the vital Florida Greenways and Trails System network.
Photo provided by Mike Pikula, Friends of the Amelia Island Trail
The Office of Greenways and Trails would like to congratulate Florida Park Service Cross Florida Greenway Manager, Mickey Thomason for being awarded the 2013 American Trails Florida State Trail Advocate Award. The Trail Advocacy award is given to an individual that has demonstrated successful efforts to influence public policy relating to trail planning, trail protection, trail development, or maintenance.
In addition, we would also like to recognize Charles and Anne Thrash of Chattahoochee, FL for being awarded the esteemed American Trails State Trail Worker Award for the State of Florida.
The Thrash’s, working as volunteers, spearheaded trail development and renovation efforts at Angus Gholson Park in Chattahoochee. They are currently hard at work in assisting with the planning of the Road to Torreya Trail which will connect the City with Torreya State Park to the south and trails in Georgia to the north.
The awards were presented at the American Trails National Symposium held April 16th at Fort McDowell, Arizona.