Chapter News

2021

Section Leaders Needed for the Aucilla Section and for Torreya State Park. Two of the most beautiful and unusual sections found in the entire Florida Trail System need a volunteer to step up to be a Section Leader.

The Aucilla section includes approximately 21.3 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail along the geologic wonderland of the Aucilla River and through the Aucilla Sinks (see: https://apalachee.floridatrail.org/big-bend-area-trails/aucilla-sinks/). Aucilla Sinks has trail masters maintaining short segments of this trail.

The 12 miles of hiking trail in Torreya State Park have recently been cleared of down trees following the devastation of Hurricane Michael, but need help to make them easier to follow. These trails offer the only real hilly terrain for hikers in Florida as the trails traverse the steephead ravines following into the Apalachicola River (https://apalachee.floridatrail.org/big-bend-area-trails/torreya-state-park/).

Section leaders are responsible for being FTA’s point person for their segment of the trail coordinating and organizing trail maintenance with volunteers and the land manager, but they are not expected to maintain all the trail by themselves. If you are interested in volunteering to be the Section Leader for the Aucilla or Torreya sections, please contact Kent Wimmer, Apalachee Chapter Trail Coordinator, at: 850-528-5261 or klwimmer2@gmail.com. Thank you for considering giving back to the Florida Trail.

Updating Chapter Policies: The New Chapter Addendums
In October 2019 the FTA Board adopted a major revision to FTA’s  procedures and policies for for the operation of FTA Chapters. In doing so they recognized that Chapters need some local flexibility. They provided that Chapters can include specific operating policies in an Addendum to the State’s Chapter Operating Procedures (COP).  The Addendum replaces the Chapter’s existing operating Guidelines.

Our Chapter developed a draft Addendum, modeled after our existing Chapter Guidelines. It was reviewed by our Officers (Coordinating Committee) and forwarded to the FTA COP Committee for review. It has been accepted by the Committee as being consistent with the minimum requirements of FTA’s COP.  Our accepted Addendum will be presented at the Chapter for membership approval.  Any Member wishing to know more or receive a copy should contact Howard Pardue for additional information. hpardue@comcast.net,  850 567-2078. You may review or download a copy of the Addendum from our website.

2020

8/12/2020 – Coordinating Committee Votes to Resume Trail Maintenance Activities
Roger Doherty, Activity Coordinator

The Chapter Coordinating Committee met on-line on August 12 to discuss chapter business, including whether we should resume hikes and other activities. FTA Headquarters had issued revised COVID-19 Operating Procedures on July 30 which discusses wearing masks, social distancing, carpooling and other procedures. The guidelines put a lot of responsibility on activity leaders to ensure that activities will be safe.

There were mixed opinions on whether or not to resume conducting activities among committee members. Rather than making a hasty decision, I was asked to check with the local parks’ offices to see if the participation levels had changed and then to conduct a poll of activity leaders about their desire to resume activities.

After emailing representatives of both the county and city parks’ departments, they confirmed that they were still limiting activities at their facilities to 10 people. This information and a summary of the new procedures was included with the poll that was emailed to activity leaders. By a 2-to-1 margin, the activity leaders who responded to the poll said that they were either unable to conduct hikes and other activities at this time or did not want to lead hikes until the infection numbers related to the virus are lowered. However, a number of section leaders said that they either wanted to resume monthly maintenance activities or they were going to work alone on the sections they were responsible for maintaining.

After reviewing the results of the poll, the chair sent an email to all officers asking them to vote on one of three alternatives: 1) Do not resume any activities at this time, 2) Resume trail maintenance activities only, or 3) Resume all activities. The majority of the committee voted to resume trail maintenance activities only. So, section leaders can now hold work parties, but the chapter will not sponsor hikes and other activities until the COVID-19 numbers are reduced further.

Training for activity leaders on the new FTA procedures is being developed. Activity leaders will be notified when the on-line training is scheduled.

1/1/2020 – The Apalachee Chapter of the FTA needs to elect 2020-22 Officers at the March 2020 meeting. According to the bylaws, we need to present a slate of officers for election at the February 2020 meeting. James Kimbrel has agreed to serve another term as the Chapter Treasurer. Debbie Grant has agreed to serve as the Membership Coordinator. Unfortunately, Ray Cade has served two terms as the Activity Coordinator, and cannot serve again. We are therefore, looking for a volunteer to serve as our Activity Coordinator. More Information: https://apalachee.floridatrail.org/vol/chapter-activities-coordinator-overview/

2019

10/25/2019 – NOTICE TO HIKERS: The Monkey Creek Bridge along the Sopchoppy River section of the Florida Trail has suffered significant damage and is currently unsafe and closed to hikers. The Florida Trail has been temporarily re-routed around this section to ensure hiker safety and allow crews to assess and repair the bridge. For more info on this and other closures: https://www.floridatrail.org/florida-national-scenic-trail/fnst/closures-and-notices/

3/12/2019 – The Apalachee Chapter held their officer elections. Vote was unanimous.

Our new leadership:

Chair – Elwood McElhaney
Vice-Chair – Dawn Griffin
Treasurer – James Kimbrel
Activities/Programs – Ray Cade
Membership – Debbie Grant
Newsletter/Website – April Edmonds
Publicity – Ron Harrison
Trails – Kent Wimmer
Volunteer Hours- Dawn Brown

Congratulations! 

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