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Chapter News

Connect via your computer, tablet or mobile device on July 13 at 7:00 PM for our virtual chapter meeting and program, "Trails of the Apalachicola River Basin” with Doug Alderson. Through engaging color photos, Doug will provide an overview of the many paddling, hiking and biking trails in the Apalachicola River Basin, some of them remote and relatively undiscovered by the general public. The program also describes the scope of activities of Apalachicola Riverkeeper and some of the restoration projects currently underway.

Doug Alderson, the Outreach and Advocacy Director for Apalachicola Riverkeeper, is a long standing FTA Member. He has enthusiastically shared his varied outdoors experiences with us over the years. At Riverkeeper, he heads up outings and volunteer coordination, and assists with all aspects of public outreach. Doug is also the author of several award-winning books including America’s Alligator, Wild Florida Waters, Waters Less Traveled, Encounters with Florida’s Endangered Wildlife, A New Guide to Old Florida Attractions and New Dawn for the Kissimmee River.

Connect via ZOOM
Meeting ID: 832 1290 0279
Passcode: Hike

New campsite at mile marker 827.6, located .2 miles west of FR314. First campsite west of Bradwell Bay wilderness area. This campsite is open to any hikers. No charge or reservation needed. For more details contact Mike Tucker at

UPDATE! 2021 Suwannee River Water Management District Land Management Review Team.  FTA was asked to be a participant in the team meeting held on June 2 at the SRWMD headquarters in Live Oak.  It included an extensive tour of the land management activities of various parcels within their jurisdiction specifically the Aucilla, Econfina and Suwannee River basins.  SRWMD staff provided an update as to water resources and hydrologic improvement projects, forest management activities for natural community restoration, invasive plant and rare species management as well as recreation management and cultural resources. The properties visited were located within the Upper Suwannee region and included the Mattair Springs Tract, Blue Sink Tract, Woods Ferry Tract and the Gar Pond Tract.  Check the area out for lots of great hiking and paddling opportunities. For more information visit

Submitted by Dawn Griffin, Vice Chair, Apalachee Chapter FTA

by Linda "eArThworm" Patton

Since 2005, I've shuttled over 60 hikers--couples, college groups, commercial trekking groups, groups of friends, and FNST section- and thru-hikers. Ages from late teens to late seventies. From students to doctors and lawyers. Male and female, rich and poor, slow and fast hikers. Arriving here from California and Massachusetts and everywhere in between. The whole gamut. And only two bad apples in all that time...a  couple of twenty-something thru-hikers who took advantage of staying in my home, showering, laundering, and eating, and when I returned them to the trail, jumped out of the car and ran off without any payment or even a "thank you." Since then, no home stays for anyone whose background I didn't know!
Except for those two, the hikers I've shuttled have been just wonderful. For instance... Four good buddies from Ohio who hike together somewhere every year. A retired world-traveler, poet, and the author of "Time for Everything: A Six-Year Adventure on the Appalachian Trail." A leader and two women hikers on a "Fitpacking" weight-loss trek. Two newly-graduated MD's from Sarasota. A thruhiker from Ohio who is the author of "Captain Blue on the Blue Blazes: The First Solo Thru-Hike of Ohio's 1,444 Mile Buckeye Trail." "Snowshoe" from Wisconsin, author of "Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail," who was doing the FNST in a series of section hikes by dropping her car off at one trailhead, getting shuttled to a different trailhead within a day's walk, and then hiking back to her car so she could go spend the night in a motel. I shuttled her several times one year. And another lady with a car--a psychologist from Minnesota. In 2010 I helped shuttle Joan "Igloo" Hobson, and day-hiked a bit with her, during this much-loved FTA member's third complete hike of the Florida Trail. One year I took backpacking stove fuel from Trail & Ski down to an out-of-gas thru-hiker at Shell Island Fish Camp. And then there was Lo Phong La "Lil' Buddha" Kiatoukaysy who had an inspiring story to tell of his parents' difficult escape from Vietnam in the 70's. Lil' Buddha is constantly hiking a trail somewhere and posts his gorgeous photographs on Instagram. In the spring of this year I did five shuttles. The last one was from Carraway Cutoff trailhead to Owls Head trailhead on the east end of the Eglin AFB section, for Anne--a California lady who was backpacking some previously-missed sections of the FNST. She has hiked all over the world--the Bibbulmun Track in Australia for instance--and is still going strong in her mid-seventies. "Princess Anne" recently donated $200 to our Chapter. These interesting and generous hikers make all the driving worthwhile.
Shuttling requires being able to find trailheads, many of them not well-marked, in the middle of nowhere while slowly creeping along dicey Forest Service dirt roads or while speeding along a busy highway. I can remember only one FNST trailhead, way out of our chapter's territory, that I had trouble finding. Did I mention being able to translate maps and apps to on-the-ground reality?
Shuttling has many rewards: getting to meet interesting folks, seeing parts of surrounding counties you might not otherwise have bothered with, and sometimes making a little extra cash for yourself (must be donated to you away from any federal land!). And, always, it affords the opportunity to drum up support for the FTA and the Apalachee Chapter.

The chapter and I could use someone to help out with this service. If you think you might like being a shuttle person and sharing in the adventures, contact me to learn how: 850-570-0011 or You can find out what else I've been up to here and here.

Please read the GUIDELINES FOR OUTING PARTICIPANTS before signing up for an activity. This will make for a better outing experience. COVID Resources.


JUL 4 SUN 8:00 AM-1:00 PM – Florida National Scenic Trail Maintenance: Apalachicola National Forest. Open to the public. Contact: For more information and directions contact Mike Tucker (850) 545-3489,

JUL 1 THUR 7:30 AM - Challenge Hike - Torreya (rescheduled from June 25th)
JUL 7,14,28 WED 9:15 AM - Heart and Sole Urban Walk & Talk
JUL 5 MON 9:15 AM - A Walk in the Woods, Piney Z
JUL 9 FRI 7:45 AM - Challenge Hike - Miccosukee Greenway

JUL 13 TUE 7:00 PM – “Trails of the Apalachicola River basin” with Doug Alderson. Through engaging color photos, Doug will provide an overview of the many paddling, hiking and biking trails in the Apalachicola River Basin, some of them remote and relatively undiscovered by the general public. The program also describes the scope of activities of Apalachicola Riverkeeper and some of the restoration projects currently underway. This will be a VIRTUAL presentation. Link:

JUL 12 MON 9:15 AM - A Walk in the Woods, Piney Z
JUL 19 - 22 - Waterfalls & Whitewater, Mountain Rest South Carolina
JUL 26 MON 9:15 AM - A Walk in the Woods, Piney Z


Elwood and Dawn G. met on Friday, June 11 with the manager of the City of St Marks. We are pleased to announce that barring any unforeseen circumstances we are planning to move forward on planning the IDIDAHIKE for February 26 & 27, 2022. The city manager could not have been more welcoming and accommodating. 

The IDIDAHIKE is an annual outdoor event and fundraiser for the Florida Trail Association designed to showcase the wonderful and abundant trails in our backyard. Though we had to postpone the event in 2021, your chapter is committed to organizing the 2022 event and plans to offer a "buffet" of wonderful hikes. There is a lot that goes into hosting this public event and volunteers are crucial to its success.  We will continue our planning efforts initially using zoom and perhaps have in person meetings closer to the event as we want this to be the best IDIDAHIKE ever!

How you can help:
Show off your creativity and consider submitting a design for the event t-shirt contest
Assist on one of the five hikes (FTA activity leaders to lead and co-lead)
Perhaps you or a friend are a talented craftsperson (or can solicit a local store) and make a donation for the silent auction.  We need a silent auction coordinator (solicit donations and operate)
Assist with Fund raising, event donations & sponsorship
Promotion & printing, Day of event parking
Trail maintenance, Volunteer recruitment & organization
Develop an online event registration (encouraging pre-registration)
Day of event registration area setup and operation
Signage development, placement and removal
Event Photographers and post event article

Don’t miss the fun of working alongside some pretty amazing people.  Interested in learning more or have questions on how you can help plan and organize this event? Contact Event Coordinators: Dawn Griffin ( (850) 509-6103 or Andrea Fenn (603) 785-0021.



CHAIR:  Elwood McElhaney
VICE-CHAIR:   Dawn Griffin
TREASURER: James Kimbrel
ACTIVITIES: Roger Doherty
MEMBERSHIP:  Debbie Grant
PROGRAMS: Howard Pardue
TRAILS: Kent Wimmer 


FNST: ANF WEST -  Al Ingle (850) 509-1162
FNST: ANF EAST -  Richard Graham (850) 878-3616
FNST: ST. MARKS - Dale Allen (850) 656-8050
FNST: AUCILLA  -   Need Volunteer(s)
FT. BRADEN TRACT -   Howard Pardue (850) 386-1494
ELINOR KLAPP-PHIPPS PARK - Dawn Brown (850) 668-0091
TORREYA STATE PARK - Need Volunteer(s)



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Our Mission: The Florida Trail Association builds, maintains, protects, and promotes the unique Florida National Scenic Trail (Florida Trail), along with a network of hiking trails throughout the state of Florida. Together with our partners, the Association provides opportunities for the public to contribute to meaningful volunteer work, engage in outdoor recreation, and participate in environmental education.   Serving Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla Counties.
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