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Chapter News

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: 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 ( 

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 Thank you for considering giving back to the Florida Trail.
Connect via your computer, tablet or mobile device on May 11th at 7:00 PM for our virtual chapter meeting and program, “Incredible Edible Natives” presented by Stacey Matrazzo.

Stacey Matrazzo is the program manager for the Florida Wildflower Foundation. She is an environmental educator with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a master’s degree in liberal studies from Rollins College, where she is also an adjunct professor. A native Floridian, Stacey is a certified Florida master naturalist who spends much of her free time kayaking, hiking, birding and photographing Florida’s amazing natural environments. She has been conducting native plant and edible plant hikes for 10 years and is the co-author of Native Plants for Florida Gardens (with Nancy Bissett; Pineapple Press, 2019).

The Florida Wildflower Foundation protects, connects, and expands native wildflower habitats through education, research, planting, and conservation programs.

Connect via ZOOM
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.,  850 567-2078. You may review or download a copy of the Addendum from our website.

MAY 2 SUN 8:00 AM-1:00 PM - Florida National Scenic Trail Maintenance: Apalachicola National Forest. Contact: For more information and directions contact Mike Tucker (850) 545-3489,

MAY 3, 10,17 24,31 MONs 9:15 AM (M/S) - A Walk in the Woods: Lafayette Heritage Trail Park (Piney Z) - A Walk in the Woods is beneficial to one's mental and physical health. Join us in a moderate to strenuous walk through the woods at your length (3.5 miles+ at 3-4 miles/hour is common). We rest for a few minutes at the midway point. Dogs on a leash are welcome. Bring lots of water, wear comfortable shoes, and apply bug repellent and sunscreen as needed. Meet near the restrooms. We start the hike at 9:30 am sharp. Covid precautions observed. Open to FTA members only. FTA membership: 
Check our Meetup site for dates, meeting locations, and any last minute announcements before starting out. Contact: Courtnay Micots (850) 300-0399, or

MAY 5, 12, 26 WED 4:15PM – 6:00 PM (NP/M-S) - Pandemic Boredom Buster Urban WalkFTA Members Only. Celebrating Our 9th Year! Come at 4:15 PM and be ready to hike a 3.5+/- mile loop at 4:30 PM sharp. Bring snack if needed, face mask, water and hat. Come hydrated. We will attempt to maintain a pace of 3.0 - 3.5 mph. Location: JR Alford Greenway, Pedrick Road, Tallahassee. *** LIMITED EVENT. YOU MUST SIGN UP ON THIS ACTIVITY’S PAGE ON MEETUP.COM FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, DIRECTIONS, AND UPDATES. Contact: Dawn Griffin (850) 509-6103

MAY 7 & 21, FRI 8:45 AM - Challenge Hikes: Miccosukee!  Join me for a challenge hike, each at a different location. Some will challenge in terms of length and others with steep inclines and declines. Some will be urban and others in nature. Watch Meetup for the location. These are strenuous hikes, so know your ability and come prepared. This is a great opportunity to motivate yourself for the mountainous hikes on the AT and Camino. Bring lots of water and some snacks, wear comfortable shoes, and apply bug repellent and sunscreen (and/or wear a hat) as needed. Dogs on a leash are welcome. Covid precautions observed. Open to FTA members only. Check our Meetup site for dates, meeting locations, and any last-minute announcements before starting out. Contact: Courtnay Micots (850) 300-0399, or

MAY 12-14 – 7:30 AM - Road Trip & Camping - Montgomery, AL - Swayback Bridge Trail. Let’s go on a Road Trip! We will sight-see, hike and car camp. Open to FTA and Apalachee Chapter members only. Limit 10 people (waiting list available). You must be fully vaccinated and are required to show me your Covid vaccination card (in person or via email before May 10th). For more information, contact: Courtnay Micots (850) 300-0399, or check out the posting on Meetup.

MAY 21 FRI 10:45 AM -3:30 PM - (NP/L) - Wakulla Springs State Park Picnic and Plunge! FTA Members Only.  Home of the world’s largest and deepest freshwater springs, the sapphire water of Wakulla Springs boasts manatees, alligators and a host of diverse wildlife that can be viewed from a riverboat or the diving platform. Dare to jump off the diving platform and plunge your body into the invigorating 70 degree waters sure to refresh you on even the hottest days. $6 per vehicle. Meet to carpool at the Park-n-Ride on South Monroe St., at 10:45 am or meet at Wakulla Spring picnic area (located at 465 Wakulla Park Drive ) Bring a picnic item to share for lunch, face mask, your own beverages and chair (tables needed).  *** LIMITED EVENT. YOU MUST SIGN UP ON THIS ACTIVITY’S PAGE ON MEETUP.COM FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, DIRECTIONS, AND UPDATES. Contact: Dawn Griffin (850) 509-6103
Jim Kern, Founder of the Florida Trail Association, has published a new book, "Broken Promise: The Plight of Our National Trails." I have read his book which has convinced me the time has come to go all-in to close the remaining gaps in our National Scenic Trails. Twenty years ago, I was one of those who said we should close the gaps strictly through voluntary measures. But the lack of funding and progress over that period have proven we will never complete and protect our nation’s greatest hiking trails unless we use all available authorities provided by the National Trails System Act. The Appalachian Trail proves that our federal trail managers need and will effectively use these proven authorities to complete our National Scenic Trails. With permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund on August 4, 2020, and mandatory funding included in the final FY21 Appropriations bill, our federal trail managers finally have the necessary funding. Now Congress needs to give our federal trail managers the full authority to complete all of our National Scenic Trails. Thank you, Jim, for providing this timely clarion call to complete our National Scenic Trails.
If you are interested in purchasing Kern's short, but well-searched book, "Broken Promise," please contact Kent Wimmer at or 850-528-5261 (mobile) to obtain the order form.
Volunteers Needed

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 hope to begin either zoom or in person planning events in the summer assuming we get the approval for large group gatherings 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 solicit a local store) and make a donation for the silent auction
Silent auction coordinator (solicit donations and operate)
Event coordinator and co-coordinators
Fund raising, event donations & sponsorship (Assist Amanda)
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
Prepare a preliminary volunteer staffing assignment list

Don’t miss the fun of working alongside amazing people.  Interested in learning more and how you can help plan and organize this amazing event? Contact Dawn Griffin ( (850) 509-6103



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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