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LAKELAND ? The Florida Department of Environmental Protection?s (DEP) Office of Greenways & Trails (OGT) today announced Gerard Greco, manager of the Blackwater Heritage State Trail (BHST), was the recipient of the Florida Bicycle Association?s (FBA) 2010 Trails Manager of the Year award. Presented during the ProBike?/ProWalk 2010 Conference held in Lakeland, May 11-13, the FBA awards recognize the efforts and achievements of groups, organizations and individuals that support and inspire people and communities to enjoy greater freedom and well being through bicycling.
?We are extremely proud of the dedication and enthusiasm that Gerard brings to his work with the Blackwater Heritage State Trail and the recognition of his efforts by the state?s bicycling community and our partners at the Florida Bicycle Association,? said Jena Brooks, Director of DEP?s Office of Greenways & Trails. ?Gerard successfully manages this state trail on a lean budget, conserving the state?s resources as well as increasing the trail?s attraction for the nearly 90,000 bicyclists and trail users whose visitation benefitted the state?s economy this past year.?
One of twenty FBA award recipients to be honored this year, Gerard Greco has worked with OGT since 2006 as manager of the BHST in Milton, Santa Rosa County. Greco works closely with local organizations and the trail?s non-profit citizen support organization, Blackwater Heritage Trail, Inc., on several annual bicycling events such as the ?Century? bike ride, which attracts more than 350 participants and the popular ?Bicycle Fest? which features a trail ride and a showcase of novelty bicycles. Using his own diverse skills and involving local volunteers, Greco works constantly to beautify and enhance the trail through such activities as removing invasive, non-native plants, acquiring a grant for the planting of native wildflowers and the building of a playground and amphitheater.
?The Florida Bicycle Association has named Gerard Greco as 2010 Trail Manager of the Year for his significant contributions to a bicycle friendly Florida,? said Laura Hallam, Executive Director of the Florida Bicycle Association. ?Gerard?s effective management of this popular rail-trail makes it a safe, attractive recreational resource for bicyclists and other types of trail users.?
DEP?s Office of Greenways and Trails manages eight state trails, in addition to the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. 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.
Florida recently garnered national recognition for its commitment to facilitating an outstanding statewide system of trails. Honored for its vision, initiatives and management of trails throughout the state, Florida was the first-ever recipient of the Best Trails State Award in 2008 presented by American Trails, the only national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail interests.
"We are extremely proud of the dedication and enthusiasm that Gerard brings to his work with the Blackwater Heritage State Trail and the recognition of his efforts by the state?s bicycling community and our partners at the Florida Bicycle Association."
Last updated: May 13, 2010