Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail 
Trail Talk
Florida Department of Environmental Protection,  Division of Recreation and Parks
Office of Greenways & Trails
Keys Sunset by Earl Stine


Welcome to the
June 2012 Edition of Trail Talk!

 In This Issue of Trail Talk:
Celebrating National Trails Day® in the Keys
Appreciation Day for FKOHT Volunteers
Environmental Stewards in Training
He May Be the FKOHT's Most Frequent "Flyer"
FKOHT Staff Graduate Ranger Academy


National Trails Day® Event 

Celebrate on the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail with a "pedal" and/or a "paddle!"
Saturday, June 2, 2012

Islamorada Cyclists on bridge
In honor of the 20th Anniversary of America's largest trail observance, National Trails Day®, Mark Terrill of Islamorada Historical Bike Tours will welcome participants at 9 a.m.,
June 2, at the Hurricane Monument, MM 81, on Upper Matecumbe Key, for a special National Trails Day® pedal tour around Islamorada. Mark will lead the group of cyclists to Bud & Mary's Marina, making many stops along the way to survey historical monuments and attractions.

In addition to the pedal event that morning, Trail Specialist Monica Woll with the Florida Paddle EventsKeys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) will host a celebratory paddling expedition that afternoon. Beginning at
1 p.m., Monica will meet the group at MM 78.5, Oceanside, along Indian Key Fill, to paddle out to Indian Key.

It is recommended that all participants bring their own gear, a bike and helmet for the pedal activity and kayak with life jacket for the paddle event. However, if needed, there are local area outfitters that offer both bike and kayak rentals. If you plan to participate in the full day of activities, please pack a lunch or prepare to join the group at the Midway Café (located at MM 80) at 11:30 a.m. If you have questions or would like to reserve a spot on either excursion, contact Monica Woll, (305) 853-3571, (305) 360-0846 cell, or email Monica.Woll@dep.state.fl.us.  


Volunteer Appreciation Picnic
A great big thank you for a job well done!

Volunteer Appreciation Picnic
FKOHT volunteers enjoyed a day of relaxation in appreciation for their hard work. (Photo by Brad White)  

On April 15, Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) volunteers attended the annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic at Curry Hammock State Park. This year's celebration incorporated a morning pedal or paddle option that was presented to the 20 volunteers in attendance; adding extra merriment and excitement to the day's already celebratory picnic affair.


Candy Kellner of the Marathon Cyclepaths led an enthusiastic group on a seven-mile ride down the Grassy Key portion of the FKOHT. Park volunteer Paula Garrett was excited and ready to lead a paddle crew around Little Crawl Key, however, this part of the event had to be called off as the weather, though beautifully sunny, was a bit too windy.


At noon, Trail Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator Monica Woll presented an abundance of good and healthy food items consisting of fruits, veggies, various wraps and sandwiches, along with cold beverages and a tasty "Thank You" cake. Volunteer Debbie Linker donated delicious homemade cookies, which added an extra special touch. Spontaneous entertainment was provided by over a dozen kite boarders, who were also enjoying the park's atmosphere and taking full advantage of the windy day. 


FKOHT staff conducted a brief presentation recognizing each volunteer for their invaluable service working to preserve and improve the trail year round. A special thanks to all the FKOHT volunteers who attended, as well as to all those who could not make it to the event--we appreciate your dedication and contributions!  



Coral Shores High School Fosters Environmental Stewardship
Good habits can make a huge difference in gaining a lifelong respect for the environment.

High School Clean up Crew
Coral Shores High School students collected a mountain of debris in cleaning up the shoreline behind their school. (Photo by Beth Rosenow)
As most people know, good habits are often learned early in life. At least this is the message that educators David Makepeace and Beth Rosenow of Coral Shores High School on Plantation Key instilled in current and former students.

About ten years ago, instructor David Makepeace, now retired, began having his students collect and recycle monofilament fishing line from compilation bins in the upper Keys; recognizing the importance of keeping this troublesome, synthetic, fishing fiber from doing harm to area marine and wildlife. Following Mr. Makepeace's retirement last year, Beth Rosenow started teaching Marine Science and also included beach clean-ups as part of the course requirements. She, like her predecessor, encourages the students to connect and care for their surroundings by giving back and doing their part.

In April, the students accomplished a shoreline clean-up behind their school, where they collected and pulled out a mountain of debris. As a result of undertaking this assignment, students learned to make a difference and practice good deeds--behavior that, with luck--will follow them into adulthood. Thanks to our Keys youth and their teachers for caring so much about the environment and exhibiting good ecological habits that, hopefully, will be hard to break!


Avid Trail User Racks Up the Miles on the FKOHT 
A trail-blazing cyclist keeps coming back for more.

Earl Stine cycling on FKOHTEarl Stine, from Tampa, Florida, has ridden his bicycle from Key Largo to Key West and back an astonishing 15 times since 2006. Racking up nearly three thousand miles over the past six years, he rides at least twice a year, usually solo. However, Earl recently began advertising on the Adventure Cycling website for riding allies.

For his May 2012 trip, Earl was able to successfully recruit three cycling companions: a woman from California and two men from Alabama and Tampa. Earl admits that he has seen great improvements on the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail's paths and bridges and can't wait until the 30 new trail miles are added later this year.

Earl's next excursion is scheduled for mid Oct. to early Nov. 2012. If you would like to join him on his venture, he can be contacted via email at estine2208@mac.com. He does ask that riders be fully self-supporting (that is, "carry all your gear") and be able to ride a minimum of 50 miles per day. Thanks, Earl, for bringing new pedalers to the FKOHT and the Keys' All-American Road!

(Special thanks to Earl for sharing his award-winning, sunset photo as the banner image for this issue of Trail Talk. It's one of the photos he uses to inspire others to cycle the FKOHT!)


Ranger Academy
State park and trail employees take it up a notch with intensive training.

OGT Staff at Ranger Academy
(l to r) Monica Woll, Mickey Thomason, Tony Knott, and Kelly Conley were among the graduates of this year's Ranger Academy.
The month of April saw the successful completion of the Department of Environmental Protection's, Florida Park Service (FPS) 72nd Ranger Academy held at Wekiwa Springs State Park. The Academy was an intensive, seven day symposium, aimed at educating trainees in preserving, interpreting and restoring the natural and cultural resources of our state parks, greenways and trails.   


Effective management of Florida's parks, greenways and trails is extremely important and requires staff to possess a variety of knowledge and skills to handle an array of situations. As stewards of state property, rangers have to be well prepared for any circumstance that could possibly occur at any of the many facilities. To accomplish this level of training, a number of meaningful courses, interactive platforms and discussions were arranged for the participants. Subject areas consisted of the history of the FPS, Florida's natural and cultural history, invasive exotic plant species, biological monitoring, natural communities, facility maintenance, visitor services, safety and protection, water quality and quantity and much more. Trainees also had a chance to go on a site visit of the Wekiwa Springs.   


Cadets Monica Woll and Tony Knott with the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, and Mickey Thomason (who successfully took on the double role of both presenter and cadet) and Kelly Conley of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, were four of the 50 candidates who graduated from this rigorous, preparatory academy. Way to go, rangers! 



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FDEP Office of Greenways & Trails | 3900 Commonwealth Blvd. MS 795 | Tallahassee | FL | 32399