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TALLAHASSEE –The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Office of Greenways & Trails (OGT) is joining the Florida Trail Association (FTA) to encourage Floridians and tourists to celebrate Florida Hiking Trails Month by enjoying an energizing hike on one of Florida’s many scenic trails. In addition, Governor Charlie Crist recently signed a proclamation inviting residents and visitors alike to explore Florida’s outstanding variety of hiking trails.
“Florida’s naturally beautiful greenways and trails offer a simple, scenic path to fitness and attract visitors from all over the world,” said Jena Brooks, Director of the DEP Office of Greenways & Trails. “Thanks to the support of the Florida Trail Association and many statewide partners, Florida has a vast network of trails that promote eco-tourism and economic benefits for the state. State-managed greenways and trails alone reported a record attendance of more than four million visitors in 2009, which translates into an estimated $68 million in spending by visitors.”
Altogether more than 8,000 miles of hiking and multi-use land trails crisscross the state with scenic vistas ranging from the rustic pine forests and rivers of North Florida to the tropical, marine paradise of the Florida Keys. The nationally designated Florida Trail, which when completed will extend 1,400 miles, includes loop and linear trails built and maintained by FTA volunteers on public lands in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service.
"Beyond the hustle and bustle of city noise and the miles of concrete, there exists a world of wonder and adventure throughout Florida,” said Deborah Stewart-Kent, Executive Director of the Florida Trail Association. “The Florida Trail, which stretches from the Big Cypress National Preserve to the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Panhandle, is a wonderful option for experiencing the beauty and mystery of natural Florida during Florida Hiking Trails Month.”
Florida Hiking Trails Month 2010 events are being held statewide and can be found at the Florida Trail Association Web site at: www.floridatrail.org/component/option,com_events.
The DEP is proud to highlight the following event, taking place on OGT managed lands:
Fourth Annual Walk Across Marion County
Florida has been named by American Trails as 'Best Trails State in America,' recognizing DEP’s Office of Greenway's & Trails for its vision and leadership, which includes community assistance, land acquisition, public outreach and the management of eight state trails and the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. The Greenway is Florida’s longest green corridor stretching 110 miles from the St. Johns River near Palatka to the Gulf of Mexico near Inglis. Of the eight state trails, six are rail-trails, which are railroad corridors converted to recreational trails for hiking, biking, skating, equestrian activities and alternative transportation.
For more information about Florida’s trails, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/. For information about hiking the Florida Trail and volunteering with the Florida Trail Association, visit www.floridatrail.org or call toll free 877-HIKE-FLA.
"Florida’s naturally beautiful greenways and trails offer a simple, scenic path to fitness and attract visitors from all over the world."
Last updated: February 12, 2010