Compass Lake - 2014 Panhandle Regional Gathering

Friday, November 7, 2014 1:00 PM to Sunday, November 9, 2014, 12:00 PM
Compass Lake In the Hills  645 Compass Lake Dr, Alford, FL (map)

The Panhandle Chapter is excited to once again host a regional gathering.  This year’s Gathering will take place at Compass Lake in the Hills, just southwest of Marianna, FL in Jackson County.  The Gathering will focus mainly on hiking in the Chipola and Econfina Sections of our Panhandle Region.  There will be a few other short activities scheduled for those interested, and the Compass Lake campus offers many amenities for your enjoyment.

For PDF of schedule, CLICK HERE
For PDF of flyer, CLICK HERE
For PDF of hike information, CLICK HERE

There are many links throughout this posting that will lead you to more information about the different aspects of the Gathering. Please be sure to follow the links to learn more about the details of the event.

PRICE: $40.00/per person

Refund policy. Refunds are given if the event is cancelled or if you cancel at least 10 days before the event. Make refund requests to the Panhandle Chapter. All refunds will be dispersed by the Panhandle Chapter within 30 days after the conclusion of the event on Nov. 9th.


Compass Lake in the Hills is located about 10 miles south of I-10  near Hwy 231 and 35 miles north of Panama City. The main recreation campus is snuggled up next to the lake and features cabins, RV sites and tent camping. During our free time, they also offer many amenities, like kayaking/canoeing , horseback riding, disc golf course, fishing, swimming, biking or just relaxing in the natural landscape reminiscent of the Carolina foothills! Follow the link above to learn more!


Compass Lake in the Hills offers three options for lodging during the gathering and they are making them available to us at their member rates! There are cabins, RV sites and tent camping. All lodging reservations must be done by individuals through folks at Compass Lake.  PHOTO GALLERY OF CABINS

PLEASE use keyword “TRAILHEAD” to identify yourself as an FTA memeber when making reservations to make sure you receive our special rates! 

Tent camping (bathroom/shower facilities available at pool) – $20 for weekend

RV sites – $17.50 +tax per night

Rates for cabins vary, but range from about $52-62 +tax per night (up to 6)

Lake House – $82 + tax per night



As part of your registration, all Panhandle Gathering participants will receive breakfast on Saturday & Sunday mornings AND dinner on Saturday night. Participants will be responsible for ALL other meals.

Located at Compass Lake is “Olle’s Restaurant”, offering tasty lunch and dinner options from this four year culinary school master! Your also welcome to bring your own food as most cabins have some level of kitchen available.


We are excited to offer a few more hiking experiences at this years Gathering than at our past Pine Log Gatherings. We are very proud of these sections of trail and hope you will enjoy them as much as we do! We are also trying a few new ideas this year with some optional short workshop activities during free time.

For PDF of schedule, CLICK HERE


FTA 2014 Annual Meeting and Conference

“Back to Basics – FUNdamentals of the FTA”

What: Florida Trail Association’s Annual Meeting and Conference
When: March 7-9, 2014
Where: YMCA Camp McConnell, 210 SE 134th Ave., Micanopy, FL



This year’s event will be held at YMCA Camp McConnell located just off SR441 in Micanopy. Take I-75 Micanopy Exit 374 and head east on CR234 until you reach SR 441, then go north on SR441 about a mile or so to the YMCA Camp McConnell sign. Turn left (west off SR 441) and follow the road about one mile to the entrance to the camp. Watch for the FTA event directional signs. Visit YMCA Camp McConnell’s website at for locator map.


Camping and bunkhouses are available on site-sorry, no hook ups for RVs available. Campers and tents will be located in a large grassy open field with a bathhouse a short walk away. Bunkhouses are also available for those who don’t wish to pitch a tent. You will need to bring your own bedding. Bring a good flashlight (it’s dark out there) and your own drinking water since the camp is on a well. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is just a couple miles south of the camp, so if you’d rather have a developed camp site, contact them early (campsites fill up quickly). If you prefer to stay in a motel, several are located in Gainesville at I-75 exit 384 at Archer Road. The camp is just a 15-20 minute drive south from that exit. The Paramount Plaza Hotel and Suites ( is located just 8-10 miles north of the camp on SR 441.

We’ll kick off the weekend with a Friday evening hospitality event. Please bring ready-to-serve finger foods or hors d’oeuvres to share. Sorry, kitchen not available to warm up foods. Meals will be catered this year with continental breakfasts available both mornings, a tasty box lunch on Saturday, and our traditional BBQ chicken dinner (with several veggie-friendly sides) for our Saturday evening meal. If you didn’t care for the camp food last year, you’re in for good dining this time. Be sure to register and order your meals by February 21, 2014.

This year’s conference will focus on teaching and exploring the basics about the Association and the Trail to our members and members-to-be. Learn how we accomplish our mission and goals, and explore the challenges we face in sustaining the FTA in the 21st Century. Come and enjoy activities such as:

Workshops by FTA Board members on current projects and issues facing the FTA
Seminars on nature and long-distance hiking and camping
Movie Night: Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition
Saturday self-guided nature walks, hikes, and tours
Sunday morning guided bike ride, paddle, and hike on nearby trails
Florida Greenways & Trails presentation by Doug Alderson
FNST Update with Jeff Glenn, North Regional Representative
Chapter Council: The Role of Chapters in the FTA
Author’s Corner
Annual Volunteer Awards
Election of Officers & Directors
Annual Meeting: State of the FTA
Campfire camaraderie
Live and Silent Auctions
Wine Garden Happy Hour

and much more!!


Visit our website at to find a link for online registration, or a link to fill out an interactive registration form.
If you have any questions, please contact the Florida Trail Association at 352-378-8823 or toll-free at 877-HIKE-FLA or e-mail See you in March!

ONSITE REPORT – March 8, 2014

Coming to you live from Camp McConnell, Micanopy, FL!!
This conference has been AWESOME so far.  The workshops have been as informative as I was expecting.  Interacting with FTA members from all over the state is a great experience…such wonderful, knowledgeable folks.  This is altogether INSPIRING.



Camp Indian Springs, Crawfordville, FL
November 8-10, 2013

Hosts:  Apalachee Chapter

Discover the natural beauty of the wondrous treasures found only in this unspoiled “other” Florida.


Pre-registration is now closed.  You may register on-site when you arrive at the event.   Lodging (camping, bunkhouse, RV) will be available with on-site registration.  However, meals cannot be guaranteed at the time of on-site registration, so be sure to have other arrangements available for food.

Registration Prices:

Adult non-FTA-member, extra for the event $15.00 (or become a member of  FTA at:

Registration and Lodging

Adult, Friday night in tent                             $35.00
Adult, Saturday night in tent                        $35.00
Adult, two nights in tent                                 $46.00

Adult, Friday night in bunkhouse               $35.00
Adult, Saturday night in bunkhouse          $35.00
Adult, two nights in bunkhouse                   $46.00

Adult, Friday night in RV without hook-up        $35.00
Adult, Saturday night in RV without hook-up   $35.00
Adult, two nights in RV without hook-up            $46.00

Youth (7-12), $5 extra per night $  5.00
Youth (6 and under), free  $ 0.00

Registration Only (no lodging): One day, or Two days for the entire weekend

Adult, registration (no lodging)                               $20 per day/$40 for weekend

Youth (7-12), registration (no lodging)                $  5 per day/$10 for weekend
Youth (6 and under), registration (no lodging) $  0 per day/$0 for weekend


Meal plan (Friday dinner through Sunday breakfast)  $38.00
Friday dinner              $11.00
Saturday breakfast    $  6.00
Saturday box lunch   $  8.00
Saturday dinner          $11.00
Sunday breakfast        $  6.00

T-SHIRTS will be for sale at the event:
Long-sleeved men’s silver
:  S-L  $14.00, XL and XXL $15.50 , XXXL  $18.50
Short-sleeved, men’s sand or women’s light pink:
S-L $12.50,  XL and XXL $14.00,  XXXL $17.00

FABRIC:  Sport-Tek Sportswear. Lightweight, comfortable roomy athletic cut, controls sweat with PosiCharge™ technology and locks in color for logos that won’t fade.


Men’s long sleeve silver shirt.

Men’s short sleeve sand shirt.

Women’s short sleeve pink shirt.


Click HERE for flyer to print or distribute electronically.


Schedule as of 10/28/13
Wakulla Walkabout, Panhandle Regional Gathering

12:00 noon – 8 pm,  Registration Open
1:30 – 4:30  Leon Sinks Hike
1:30 – 3:30 San Marcos de Apalache Tour
3:50 – 6:15 Wakulla Springs Boat Tour
5:00 – 6:15 Hospitality
5:00 – 7:00 Raffle Ticket & T-Shirt sales
6:30 -7:30 Dinner
8:30 Stargazing
9:00 Campfire (with Old Time background music)

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast,  Hikers pick up box lunches
8:30 – 12:00 noon Registration Open
8:30 – 9:30 Yoga for Hikers
9:00 – 4:00 Exhibits open
9:00 – 2:30  Sopchoppy River Hike
9:30 – 2:30 Marsh Point Hike [limit 20]
10:00- 2:30 Leon Sinks Hike
10:00 – 12:00 noon San Marcos de Apalache Tour
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
3:00 – 4:00 Trail and Ski, Outdoor Gear Demo
3:30 – ?:00  Nick Baldwin, Photography
3:50 – 6:15 Wakulla Springs Boat Tour
5:00 – 6:15 Hospitality
6:30 – 7:30Dinner
7:30 Welcome
7:45 Speaker,  Steve Sheridan, The First Through Hiker of the Florida Trail
8:30 Raffle
9:30 Stargazing,  Campfire

7:00 – 8:30 Birding at Wakulla Springs
8:00 9:00 Breakfast
10:00 Closing Ceremony


Fingerprince Prints Photography

Wakulla Springs State Park & San Marcos de Apalache State Historical Park