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Founded in 1993, the Suwannee Chapter of FTA serves Dixie, Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee, and Taylor Counties. Suwannee Chapter maintains FTA's Aucilla to Twin Rivers State Forest, Ellaville, Big Oak and Alapaha/Suwannee Trails. The chapter meets on every second Monday (except-July and August) 7 p.m. at the Suwannee River Water Management District Office. There are a couple of work hikes each year led by the section leaders and trail masters along with volunteers to re-blaze, mow, lop excess vegetation and clear debris to keep the trails in good hiking condition. Hiking and paddling activities including field trips are led by activity leaders during the fall and winter months. Programs relevant to outdoors and FTA's mission are offered during the monthly meetings.
James Kern, a wildlife photographer and real estate broker, envisioned the Florida Trail in 1964 while hiking the Appalachian Trail. To generate support for the project, Kern created the Florida Trail Association. The Association is a nonprofit group of trail enthusiasts who have dedicated themselves to building a trail stretching the length of the State. This Association can boast construction of more than 1,000 miles of trail, including the main Florida Trail and numerous side and loop trails.
The development of what has become the Florida National Scenic Trail began with volunteers of the Florida Trail Association more than thirty-five years ago. Today, bordered by rivers and lakes, and surrounded by forests of palms, pine, cypress, and moss-draped live oaks, the trail offers a unique hiking experience. Utilizing public lands where possible and developed under agreements with private landowners elsewhere, the trail threads its way through the state. The winter and spring months, when the air is crisp and the dry season is upon the land, are best for hiking in Florida.
Map of the Florida National Scenic Trail
The Florida Trail - Video