Chapter News

 *****  UPCOMING EVENT  *****


December 27, 2018

Dear FTA Members,
A New Year is coming soon, and so the Florida Trail Association celebrates a year of accomplishments with its volunteers and partners. We’re thankful for the support from our many donors, volunteers and professionals- support that merits renewal for 2019.
Highlights from this year include:
A total of 19 milesof roadwalk were removed from the Florida Trail in 2018.
28,531 volunteer hours donated to fulfill our Mission, including maintaining 1,300 miles of the Florida Trail. 
Certification/recertification of 38 chainsaw sawyers.
Certification/recertification of 30 volunteers with Wilderness First Aid certifications.
Material support for maintenance work on the Florida Trail with over $40,000 in equipment purchases. 
Infrastructure projects, including the massive Puncheon Project in the Ocala National Forest.
Celebrated the 50th Anniversary of National Trails with a very successful public event in Deland. Other outreach and policy efforts included FTA participation at Washington, D.C.’s Hike the Hill National Trails events and the Outdoor Retailer industry shows in Denver, Colorado. 
We couldn’t perform this work if it wasn’t for all the people like YOU who support our mission. Won’t you help FTA kick off the New Year with the resources we need to maintain momentum? Many opportunities and challenges remain, from maintaining and promoting the Florida Trail to working with our sister trail nonprofits to ensure that the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund is reauthorized by Congress. Please make a generous year-end donation to the Florida Trail Association. Your gift is tax-deductible. Your generosity ensures a bright future for the beautiful Florida Trail, one of only eleven National Scenic Trails. Thank you.

 Donate Today HERE.

Carlos Schomaker
VP Development and Outreach
Florida Trail Association
1050 NW 2nd Street
Gainesville, FL 32601
Phone: (352) 378-8823

October 10, 2017

Click on a photo to see the full view.  (photos by Liz Sparks)adj a Kevin Grant

Kevin Grant
10-hour Footprint Patch

adj b Liz Sparks

Liz Sparks
100-hour Rocker

adj c Carol Watkins

Carol Watkins
100-hour Rocker

adj e Mike Tucker

Mike Tucker
Maintainer of the Year – Florida National Scenic Trail

Dawn Brown  Maintainer of the Year - Loop Trails

Dawn Brown
Maintainer of the Year – Loop Trails

adj h Linda Patton

Linda Patton
Administrative Leadership

Dawn Griffin  Volunteer of the Year

Dawn Griffin
Volunteer of the Year

adj j Aucilla Plaque to Steve Babcock

Steve Babcock
Section Leader
FNST-Aucilla River and Sinks





REGISTER for FTA’s 50th Anniversary Conference here:
BUY the Florida Trail 50th Anniversary Book here:




NTD 2016 poster


At our October chapter meeting, Anne Wilde offered to give us information on how to contact our state legislators about the proposed changes allowing logging, grazing, and hunting in our State Parks.

There was an article about this issue in the Tallahassee Democrat This info. was at the end of the article: “The public can stay up to date on state park Unit Management Plan updates and public hearings on DEP’s website at Sign up to receive email notifications about hearings and workshops on the DEP homepage ( ). Click on “Sign Up for News & Info” (on the left side), click on “subscriber page,” enter your email address, and select “Recreation and Parks — hearings, meetings and workshops” on the checklist.

How the State Parks make money for Florida: Florida State Parks Economic Impact Assessment FY 2013-2014 10-23-14

Writing Effective Letters

Use the right address and spell your legislator’s name correctly. Type or print legibly. Sign your name neatly and give your address correctly so the legislator can respond to your letter. Keep letters, email, and faxes as brief as possible. Concisely written correspondence is more likely to grab and keep the reader’s attention.  Identify your issue or opinion at the beginning of the letter; don’t bury your main point. Cover only one issue per letter. If you have another issue to address, write another letter. Back up your opinions with supporting facts. Your letter should inform the reader, and facts make an argument more tangible and convincing. Avoid abbreviations or acronyms, and don’t use technical jargon. Don’t send the same letter to more than one legislator. Personalized letters have a greater impact.

Calling or Visiting Your Legislator

Plan your call or visit ahead of time. When preparing to visit your legislator, make an appointment. Call or write to schedule the meeting as soon as you know when you are going to be at the Capitol. This way you can be sure you will be able to meet with your legislator. Keep to the point and discuss only one issue. Organizing your thoughts ahead of time and making notes to help you stay on track can be very helpful. Prepare a one-page fact sheet concerning your issue to give to your legislator. This will help him or her better retain what you present.

Here are some links about contacting legislators:

“Legislative aides say people still matter in the process.” by Bill Cotterell

YouTube video about how people can make a difference with Florida legislators . Just as important as how to influence legislators, Cate’s YouTube video also listed some things not to do.

Call, write personal letters (do NOT use form letters), or visit their district office (schedule an appointment). Calmly tell the story; be short, concise, and share something personal about the good or bad impact of the proposal. Offer a solution if you can. Help them understand how the issue affects the district.


The Honorable Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda
Florida House of Representatives, District #9
1001 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300

(850) 717-5009 /

The Honorable Bill Montford
State Senator, District #3
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

(850) 487-5003 /


A facebook post at

Standing for the Future of Florida State Parks

State parks were established for the benefit of the people of Florida by preserving the state’s important natural and cultural resources and making them available for public use and enjoyment. Our elected and appointed officials are not providing leadership to fund, manage and expand Florida’s state parks. Citizens who care about Florida’s state parks stand together in supporting the following principles:

  1. State parks will be managed for the primary purpose of conserving their natural and cultural resources and providing compatible resource-based recreation. Secondary uses will be approved only where they do not conflict with the primary purpose. (no cell towers, billboards, etc.)
  1. State parks will meet recreation demand by expanding the park system and developing facilities at under-utilized parks rather than by accommodating additional visitors at parks where visitation already meets or exceeds theirecological carrying capacity. Park improvements that degrade resources or visitor experiences will not be made.
  1. State parks will receive annual appropriations adequate to meet the needs for management of natural and cultural resources and recreation opportunities.
  1. Cattle grazing will be conducted only on improved pasture as a temporary maintenance activity until ecological restoration can occur. Cattle leases will not be issued in natural areas and park land will not be converted to pasture.
  1. Timber harvesting and thinning will be conducted only for resource restoration purposes. Sustained-yield forest management practices and commercial harvesting of forest products will not be conducted in state parks.
  1. Recreational hunting will not be expanded beyond the three parks properties where it presently occurs: Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve; Rock Springs Run State Reserve and the Marjorie Carr Cross Florida Greenway.
  1. “State parks” will be exempt from future legislation that requires agriculture or multiple-use to be approved on state conservation lands.
  1. Public hearings will be conducted before any disposal of state park lands or transfer of parks to other management agencies.
  1. DEP will be open and transparent to the public when considering changes in the way state parks are managed.  The public will have ample opportunity to review and provide oral and written comments before changes are adopted



Ask your family, friends, neighbors, club members, etc. (over age 21) to vote, too.
Don’t forget to vote today and every day!!

Spring Creek b Nov 2012

Ten years ago, a hurricane’s storm surge washed out the boardwalks where the Florida National Scenic Trail crosses the headwaters of Spring Creek within the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. There are places where there is no dry land on which to build the trail—only deep black mud—so the Florida Trail Association had built boardwalks across the worst of it. But now this section is closed because it is dangerous—hikers have been caught in mud over their knees and had to be pulled out by their arms. Florida Trail thruhikers have to take a 5-mile detour on roads to skip that section of Trail. And all hikers are denied the opportunity to experience this gorgeous section of the Florida Trail. The Florida Trail Association needs to win this $25,000 grant to build replacements for the destroyed boardwalks.

Ask your family, friends, neighbors,club members, etc. (over age 21) to vote, too.
Don’t forget to vote today and every day!


VOLUNTEER AWARDS – Sept. 8, 2015

Click on a photo to see the full view.
(photos by Toni Courtier)
Top Maintainers - Dawn Brown -  Richard Graham Richard Graham - FNST Maintainer
Maintainers of the Year      FNST Maintainer-
Richard Graham

Dawn Brown - Loop Trail Maintainer  Dawn Griffin - Activity Leader of the Year
Loop Trail Maintainer-       Activity Leader of the Year-
Dawn Brown                          Dawn Griffin

Dawn Brown - Volunteer of Year  Howard Pardue - Special Service Award
Volunteer of the Year-         Special Service Award-
Dawn Brown                         Howard Pardue

Howard Pardue - 2500 hours Karen Berkley - Dawn Brown - 1000 hours
2500 Hours-                         1000 Hours-
Howard Pardue                    Karen Berkley/Dawn Brown

Jerry Herting - Al Ingle - Gary Sisco - 100 hours  
Ashley Hopkins - Donna Ingle - 10 hours
100 Hours-                             10 Hours-Ashley Hopkins/Donna Ingle
Jerry Herting/Al Ingle/Gary Sisco

Toni Courtier - Cake  Dawn Brown cuts thhe cake 
Volunteer Thank-You Cake    Dawn Brown cutting cake


NTD 2014

On Saturday June 7, 2014 a group of 58 hikers, including Bob Gabordi and his son and 5 hike leaders from the Florida Trail Association,  enjoyed a 5-mile hike at Lafayette Heritage Trail Park along the south side of Piney-Z Lake, then north along the berm to, and across, the wonderful new walkway and bridge over the CSX railroad tracks between Lafayette Heritage Trail Park and J.R. Alford Greenway. After a short loop into the Alford Greenway and a stop in the shade for hydration and a snack, the hikers returned to the starting point. Slightly cooler temperature and a little breeze helped make this a wonderful day celebrating American Hiking Society’s annual National Trails Day–the country’s largest celebration of trails.

Save the date for Activity Leader/Trail Crew Leader Training

Important training/refresher sessions for potential/current leaders of activities and trail maintenance crews are being held on May 10th. Learn what it takes to be an Activity Leader for hikes, bikes, paddles, and/or trail maintenance groups. Open to current Activity Leaders/Section Leaders/Trailmasters (as a refresher course), potential Activity Leaders/Section Leaders/Trailmasters, and potential Trail Crew Leaders (who must first be certified Activity Leaders). If you are an Activity Leader, attend for refresher training. If you think you might possibly like to become an Activity or Trail Crew Leader, these sessions are open to you; please feel free to attend and see what it’s all about so you can make an informed decision. Trail Crew Leaders are urgently needed to help us fulfill the FTA’s mission of maintaining the Florida National Scenic Trail.

SATURDAY, MAY 10, 2014 / TCC WAKULLA CENTER / 2932 Crawfordville Hwy. (north entrance of Centennial Bank) CRAWFORDVILLE, FL

** CLICK HERE FOR FULL SIZE FLYER with schedule and other details (pdf)


Save the date for our Regional Conference….

Date:  November 8-10, 2013.
Location:  Camp Indian Springs, Crawfordville FL.
Click HERE for information.

May 1, 2013

On June 1st, Celebrate National Trails Day® with a hike at Lafayette Heritage  Trail Park!

June 1 Saturday P/M American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®: Hike Lafayette Heritage Trail Park. NTD is the country’s largest celebration of trails and there will be activities all over the U.S.  Come celebrate with a 1-, 2- or 4-mile roundtrip walk.  The 4-mile hike to two overlooks and to the bridge leading to Tom Brown Park starts at 10:00 a.m. The 2-mile hike to two overlooks starts at 11:00 a.m.  and the 1-mile hike to the first overlook starts at 12 noon. Please come 15 minutes early to sign in!  All walks require climbing a large hill or two up to the overlooks above Lake Lafayette and its prairie.  Afterward, explore the Park’s fishing fingers and the lakefront on your own.  The ground is rough, so wear sturdy shoes. Don’t forget your water, and bring binoculars or a camera if you want.  And bring the kids!   Take Conner Boulevard east from Capital Circle and turn on Heritage Trail Boulevard through the Piney Z residential neighborhood, through the traffic circle to the lakeside park.  Look for the National Trails Day banner under the pine trees inside the park’s circular road.  Come walk with us!!  If you need more information:  Wendy Dial (941) 320-8470

April 11, 2013

Awards presented at Chapter Meeting April 9, 2013

Left to right: Jim Wood, Howard Pardue, Ronny Traylor

March 23, 2013

November 8-10, 2013: Panhandle Regional Conference

WAKULLA WALKABOUT: An FTA Gathering at Camp Indian Springs

Discover the natural beauty of the wondrous treasures found only in this

unspoiled “other” Florida.

Date:  November 8-10, 2013

Location:  Camp Indian Springs, Crawfordville FL

Hosts:  Apalachee Chapter

Save the date and watch for more details later!

February 2, 2013

March 15-17, 2013 Annual FTA Conference: “Trails Don’t Build Themselves!”


Each spring, the Florida Trail Association holds its Annual Meeting to elect new Board members and officers. But equally important, we build a Conference around that meeting so we may meet to have fun and learn from each other and from folks outside of FTA.  A variety of hikes, nature walks, presentations, demonstrations and tours are among some of the exciting events planned for this memorable weekend full of the great outdoors!  With over 30 activities to choose from, you can shape your own conference experience.  Carpool to Micanopy for an historic tour of the town.  Head to the University of Florida campus for a special tour of the Florida Natural History Museum’s Butterfly Rainforest or stay at the camp and enjoy presentations on hiking trails, nature programs and how-to workshops, or just enjoy socializing and catching up with your fellow FTA members!

This year’s highlights include:

Greg Stephens, renowned Florida wildlife photographer,

John Waldron, executive director of Florida Outdoor Recreation Council (FLORC)

Tours of the Butterfly Rainforest, Cross Creek, & Morningside Nature Center

Presentations on trails and nature topics

The return of the FTA Wine Garden

Friday night dessert pot luck

Nature walks, history walks, hikes

Sunday bike ride & paddle

Hiking How-To’s

State of the Trail report & FNST workshop


TRAILS DON’T BUILD THEMSELVES is the theme for the 2013 Annual Conference.  We all know that trails don’t build themselves, but what does it really take to build a hiking trail the length of Florida?  Join us as we explore the many facets of our FTA Mission.

The Conference will be held March 15-17, 2013 at YMCA Camp McConnell.  The camp is located minutes off I-75 between Gainesville and Micanopy, FL and is directly across US 441 from Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park which will host many of our nature walks. The camp has a large grassy field for tent camping and RV’s (no hookups) and 4 new bunk houses. You can also make your own arrangements at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. If you prefer not to ‘rough it’ make your motel/hotel reservations soonest because this is the same weekend as Gator Nationals in Gainesville and motel rooms are filling quickly.

Check out FTA’s promo video for the 2013 Annual Conference!

Click here to register for the conference on-line

Click here for downloadable paper registration form

Online registration will close on March 11, 2013, BUT deadline for meal orders is March 7th.

There will also be on-site registration at the event starting at 2 p.m. on March 15.

If you have any questions, please contact the Florida Trail Association at 1-877-445-3352.

Come have fun and bring your family, friends and neighbors!

November 30, 2012


Scott Allen Davis has sent us the list of local edible plants to go with the presentation he made on November 13th.

Click HERE to open the file.

May 31, 2012


Filed under: Chapter News — apalachee @ 4:32 pm Edit This

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 4:38 PM

Today I just learned that our friend and trail companion, Terry Tenold died from a heart attack early this morning.

They are still reaching family [up north] and deciding what to do. I asked if food was needed, and they said not at this time.  More to come.

Howard Pardue



Terry Tenold was my brother. He was my “little” brother, as I am 11 years older than Terry. So when he was growing up, I was not around much. However, as time passed on we became very much involved in each others’ lives. I visited him in Arkansas, Mississippi and Puerto Rico as well as Florida. He always came back to the “north lands” of Iowa and Minnesota in July, (Florida was too hot and muggy), and never missed a Christmas to be with his family. We went on an extensive road trip to Arizona and the Grand Canyon a few years ago and then our cruise to the Norwegian Fjords was a hight light of our traveling together with family.

He was a kind and loving person. He loved his fmaily, which included his two sisters, nephews, niece and great nephews so much. We had great times going to baseball and basketball games the past two years to watch the great nephews play.

His passing has made a big hole in our family and he will never be forgotten. We love you Terry and will and are missed. God bless you all for being his extended family and caring and loving him.

Fay Tenold

Terry is my Uncle. He will be greatly missed by all of his family. My brother Kris and I will attending the memorial services this weekend on Friday at Waukeenah Methodist and on Sunday at St. Andrews. We hope to meet and get to know many of Terry’s friends while in Tallahassee.

Tim Haugebak


Thursday, May 31, 2012 4:24 PM

There is a very brief obituary in an Iowa paper, with a guestbook you can sign:

There may be a service at Waukeenah Methodist, Terry’s church, in the near future.  I will update this page as we get more information.

Terry will be remembered at the National Trails Day event this Saturday at 9 a.m.  and at the Chapter meeting on June 12th.



Saturday, June 2 – 8 pm

Here is another link:



Wednesday, June 6 – 2pm

A memorial service for Terry Tenold will be held this Friday evening (June 8th) at 7:00 p.m., at the church he attended, the Waukeenah United Methodist Church, 81 Methodist Lane, Waukeenah, FL.  Directions: From the intersection of Capital Circle East (US 319) and Apalachee Parkway (US 27), drive 16.8 miles east on US 27 to Waukeenah.  At the blinking light at the intersection with County Rd. 259, continue straight ahead for another several hundred feet and you will see a large sign (on the left) for the Waukeenah United Methodist Church.  Turn left into the driveway that is immediately past the sign and continue up the drive to the church and parking area. Driving time should be 30 minutes or less from the east side of town.  If you need further information, you can call the church at 997- 2172 or 997-9684.  If you have any pictures of Terry doing trail stuff that they might be able to project at the service, please send them to me right away so I can forward them to the church.



Monday, June 4 – 11am

There will be a memorial service for Terry at St Andrews Anglican Church, 401 Timberlane Rd., at the corner of Meridian Road, on Sunday, June 10th at 2:00 p.m. It’s a small church. Arrive a few minutes ahead for parking.


May 12, 2012


April 18, 2012

Aucilla FNST Trail: WFSU-TV segment available on Internet

Aucilla Trail Highlighted

WFSU-TV’s Dimension’s program aired a story in April 2012 about the Florida National Scenic Trail through the Aucilla Sinks and along the Aucilla River.  You can watch it on the internet at  Interviewed for this program were Kent Wimmer, FTA members Gary and Barbara Hudson, Megan Eno of the US Forest Service and Morgan Wilbur of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The program shows the Florida Trail as it winds around the area’s scenic and usual geologic features where the Aucilla River disappears and reappears in sinks hole and river runs.  We also recognized the volunteers of the Florida Trail Association and our partnerships with the Commission and the USFS that are necessary to create and maintain this segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail.

In November of 2011, WFSU-TV aired a program about the FNST in the Cathedral of Palms in the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and along the Sopchoppy River in Apalachicola National Forest which can be viewed at:

January 24, 2012

Ordering Steve Sheridan’s book about the first FNST thruhike

You can now order Steve Sheridan’s book, Florida Any Way You Can: The First Thru-Hike of the Florida Trail, and a Cross-Florida Canoe Trip, online at MyPrintOnline.

To link to the Florida Trail Association’s  website and listen to a podcast of radio interviews with Steve, made during his thru-hike,  click here.

To link to the Florida Trail Association’s website and purchase Steve’s book, click here.

January 20, 2012

Our 30th Anniversary – January 2012 program

Trail books author Sandra Friend attended the January 2012 party celebrating the Chapter’s 30th Anniversary and wrote about it on one of her websites.  Click here to read it.

For a copy of the handout for the evening’s program, click here.

A few photos of the evening:

June 12, 2011

Tick-borne Disease Alert for Aucilla Sinks

Filed under: Chapter News — apalachee @ 11:55 am Edit This

Tick-borne Disease Alert

By Barbara Donner, Aucilla Section Leader

There have been several cases of Ehrlichiosis in people and a dog hiking the Aucilla Sinks section of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Special attention and caution should be practiced while hiking this section from April through September. Ticks are possible year round, but are in extreme abundance in the late spring and summer months. Exposure can be 50 or more specimens (even with use of deet repellent), which increases the risk of being infected. Not all ticks carry a disease and probably most areas in Florida do not have a reason for concern, but where there are known carriers, it is best to either avoid that area in the summer or be aware of symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Ehrlichiosis is caused by the lone star tick. It has a white spot on its back. The symptoms are flu-like and include fever, body aches, and extreme fatigue. A ring or rash can occur, but not in all cases. In a dog, symptoms are loss of appetite and lethargy. Symptoms can take up to two weeks after exposure. If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor and let him/her know you were exposed to ticks. Many doctors do not have experience with tick-borne diseases and they may think you just have a virus and will not prescribe an antibiotic. There is no quick test for the diseases, although a blood test can be done to check for a low white blood cell count, which is an indicator of a tick-borne disease. If a doctor will not prescribe anything, be persistent and ask for the antibiotic doxycycline. Once taken, symptoms are gone within 1-2 days.