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Hitoy TeFoiaNton al Sei Trail offers hikers a chance to discover the natural On weekends, Florida Trail Association members fan out to maintain trail.Te
beauty linking Florida's wilda and rural areas. Added to the inati onal trail systm in1983 routinely wade through swamps to build bridges; cut back thick, subtropicalveeain n
the Florida Trail will one dayextend 1,300 miles from Gulf Islnds National Sashorein <=paint trail blazes. Blazes are patches painted on trees or other landmarks tohephkr
Florida's western panhandle to Big, Cy press National Pr eserve in south Florida. As of Januar y their way. Maintaining specific sections of the trail is the responsibility of se(to eaes
1991, there were more than 300 miles of certified Florida National Scenic Trail stretching The Florida Trail Association and the USDA Forest Service develop and mainti hsta
across some of the State's most picturesque areas: Apalachicola, Ocala, and Osceola National through cooperative agreements with various public and private authorities.
Foesmts; St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge; Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroadl State T~rail Development. The Forest Service continually certifies portions of hFlrdTii,
Trail; South Florida Water Management District lands, including Kicco, Bluff Hammock, giving it various degrees of protection. Ib ensure that trail segments remainunitbean
Nandlower Kismee sections; Avon Park Bombing and Gunnery Range; and Big Cypress provd quality recreational opeportunitieso everyne, the Fres Service an tarte
James Kern, a wildlife photographer and real estate broker, envisioned the Florida Trail management agencies. With landowners' consent, sections of the trail can be aotdfrue
in 1964 while hiking the Appalachian Trail. 'Ib generate support for the project, Kern created Only through the generosity of puablic-spirited landowners who join this (oprtv
the Florida Trail Association. The Association is a nonprofit group of trail enthusiasts who venture will more trail sections become accessible. At this time, the Florida PainlSei
have dedicated themselves to building a trail stretching the length of the State. With more Trail is only partly completed, as shown on the map in this brochure. The progesmaet
than 5,00 members, this Association can boast construction of more than 1,000 miles of trail, date hails the beginning of a new era for Florida outdoor enthusiasts.
including the m ain Florida Trail and numerous side and loop trails.
Exploring the Traff
The Florida National Scenic Trail is primarily a footpath, which meanders through swamps, and spring-fed tributaries. Along the Suwannee, most of the trail pase hog
variety of Florida's ecological regions. The most popular time to hike the trail is late fall scenic private lands; these are some of the least protected trail sections.
trough early spring when temperatures are cool, rainfall low, insects inactive, and migratory The trail's northern section, between the Suwannee River and north of 0radpse
widlife abundant. through the Osceola and Ocala National Forests. These forests are characteriebyin
Trkail enthusiasts are still searching for appropriate trail locations in Florida's western f latwoods, swamp forests, and hardwood hammocks. South of the Osceola NatoalFret
panhandle. In that part of the State, the trail may follow the Gulf of Mexico beaches from Gulf the trail winds through picturesque ravines and crosses a colonial rice plantto e foei
Isands National Seashore to the Apalachicola River. Blackwater River State Forest and Pine enters the Ocala National Forest. It passes numerous sinkholes, ponds, riversadfehae
Log State Forest contain the only completed trail sections in northwestern Florida. springs.
The Florida National Scenic Trail in the Big Bend Region extends from the Apalachicola In the State's heavily populated central region, extending from north of OradCt h
River tothe Suwainee Rier. Hiking in the heart of Apalachicola National Forest often means north shore of Lake Okeechobee, the trail passes mostly through public lands.I kit h
wading in waist-deep water through the Bradwell Bay Wilderness Area. This 23,000-acre Orlando area and picks up along the Kissimmee River. This beautiful section pse hog
area is one of the East's largest designated wildernesses. Bradwell Bay is noted for titi Eive oak and sabal palm hammocks, sand pine forests, open prairies, and runs ln h ie
thickets, deep gum swamps, and virgin pine and cypress forests. banks.
The trail winds through the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge's protected wilderness In Big Cypress National Preserve, the trail winds southward through a ri feyrs
on a roadbed from an abandoned turn-of-the-century railroad. In addition to harboring a wide swamp and sawgrass marsh dotted with tropical hammocks of sabal palms anaiplns
variety of native plants, the Refuge is also a popular location to watch birds with a checklist Around Lake Okeechobee, the trail follows levees and water control structurson trce
of more than 300 species. by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1940's to control flooding and draintenrhr
Traveling east, the trail follows the northern reaches of San Pedro Bay on logging roads, Everglades. Endangered species, such as the Florida panther and the Evergladskte a
crossing lands owned byr private timber companies. At the Suwannee River, the terrain occasionally be seen in this area. A pristine example of a subtropical swamp lIesa h
changes from flat, dirt roads to high sanndhills, limestone rock bluffs, sandbanks, cypress extreme southern end of the trail.
Many public agencies and private interests are participating in the development and permit camping only at designated sites. In some cases, the trail may alreadybeontou,
maaeetof the Florida National Scenic Trail. Since many agencies and private interestsa but designated camping sites have not yet been established. Along such segmenti ol
are iwnvolvd with managing the trail, rueise and regunlations governing its use vary. These be difficult to find apce to capd. Pla your trip in advac ob sure of prope vrih
People using the Florida National Scenic Trail are urged to show appreciation for the Interpretive Facilities. Hikers will find interpretive centers that explinFlrds
volunteers who have developed and maintained this trail. Users should be especially careful natural history and geology. These centers are located at Big Cypress Nationa resr
to respect the rights of private property owners, particularly those who have generously Gulf Islands National Seashore, and several national forests and State park,.
allowed the trail to cross their ln. Please stay on the trail, especialy when crosing private Fishing. A Florida fishing license is required for fishing in lakes and stream ln
usually orange, and wooden signs that provide distance and directional information. Other however, some trail segments may be closed. From September through Januarchc
segments are marked similarly but lack official Florida National Scenic Trail logos. in advance about hunting seasons with the managing authority responsible for4 e ri