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Greenway Survey Responses

Across the state, people enjoy Florida's Greenways and Trails System in a variety of ways. This year for Greenways & Trails month, we would like to introduce you to some of those people. Members of the Florida Greenways and Trails Council, public and private partners, DEP employees, trail users, and volunteers all help to make the Florida Greenway & Trail System a great place to get outside.

Whether the trail is paved, natural surface, or water, there is something for everyone to enjoy. After learning more about the people who work and play on Florida's greenways, check out our Online Trail Guide and plan your next adventure!



Betsy Benac is a member of the Florida Greenways and Trails Council

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

Pinellas Trail because there are so many interesting sites along the trail.

What advice would you offer to anyone who wants to explore this trail?

To plan on many different environments to go through- parks, waterfront, urban areas, and great cities like Dunedin and Tarpon Springs.


Chris Rietow is a member of the Florida Greenways and Trails Council

What is your role on the Florida Greenways and Trails Council?

To represent Florida's 10 regional planning councils

Which is your favorite greenway or trail? 

Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail as it allows me to paddle, camp, fish and explore remote areas of the Big Bend.

What advice would you offer to anyone who wants to explore this trail?

Be sure to be in good paddling shape and use the printed guide for the bonus side trips.


Leslie Wheeler is a member of the Florida Greenways and Trails Council

What is your role on the Florida Greenways and Trails Council?

Trail user - Hiker

Which is your favorite greenway or trail? 

The Florida Trail - White Springs area

What advice would you offer to anyone who wants to explore this trail?

The Florida Trail is marked by rectangular orange blazes from tree to tree, and the footpath is maintained by volunteers of The Florida Trail Association.  The Florida Trail in this area is more of a wilderness experience, and allows for a holistic experience.   Walking along the ancient Suwannee River, one can gain a perspective not available on urban trails.



Mickey Thomason works for the Division of Recreation & Parks

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Mountain Biking

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

Cross Florida Greenway

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

What designated access point has facilities and attributes to provide their preferred outdoor recreational opportunity.


Doug Alderson is an avid paddler who works for Apalachicola Riverkeeper

 

Describe your organization

Our mission is to provide stewardship and advocacy for the protection of the Apalachicola River and Bay, its tributaries and watersheds, in order to improve and maintain its environmental integrity and to preserve the natural, scenic, recreational, and commercial fishing character of these waterways. We also sponsor educational outings at least once a month and we promote non-motorized trails in the Apalachicola Basin so people can experience the resource first-hand.

Which is your favorite greenway or trail? 

Apalachicola Blueway

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

The blueway is 107 miles long, but sections can easily be done as day trips. The river has the strongest flow of any Florida river, so a 4 mile an hour average for paddling is generally achieved. Fall and early winter are usually ideal times for paddling. The river often floods in late winter and spring. 


Mike Alfano works for Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency

Describe your organization

The Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency administers projects funded by the one-cent sales tax collected in Leon County.  Projects range from the acquisition of environmentally sensitive land to stormwater improvements to the creation of new parks to roadway infrastructure improvements.

Which is your favorite greenway or trail? 

The Capital Cascades Trail

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

The Capital Cascades Trail is a multi-phased project that creates an urban multiuse path through neighborhoods and areas adjacent to downtown Tallahassee and the two public Universities in Leon County, Florida State and Florida A&M Universities.  This trail project also includes stormwater improvements to a key arterial that alleviated flooding for area residents; the development of an award-winning stormwater facility cleverly designed as an urban park, complete with an amphitheater; the creation of a pedestrian bridge over a major arterial that sees hundreds of users a day; and the continuation of the trail along newly created FAMU Way to intersect with the St. Marks Trail, and other trails in southwest Tallahasssee-Leon County.


Tamara Pigott works at The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel

Describe your organization

It's a destination marketing organization for Lee County.

Which is your favorite greenway or trail? 

The Great Calusa Blueway

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

Visit here to learn more about this 190 mile trail. Plenty of outfitters available throughout the community allow visitors to explore one section or the entire length of the trail depending on their interest.


Katie Bernier works for the Office of Greenways and Trails. She is the Regional Coordinator for the southern and central regions of the state.

Describe your job with the Office of Greenways and Trails

I'm the Southern and Central Regional Coordinator with OGT and I assist regional stakeholders with the planning, funding and promotion of connected trail systems. I also coordinate our Designation Program, as well as the Florida Greenways and Trails Council.

What are the favorite parts of the job?

I love conducting site visits for our Trail Town Program. It allows me to travel to parts of Florida I wouldn't have experienced otherwise and help promote these sometimes relatively unknown gems.

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

The General James A. Van Fleet State Trail is my favorite. It's such a peaceful ride and the section that traverses the Green Swamp allows for ample wildlife viewing opportunities.

What advice would you offer to anyone who wants to explore this trail?

Bring plenty of water and keep an eye out for Gopher Tortoises crossing the trail!

 


Kari Baasch works for the Office of Greenways and Trails as a Graphic Designer.

Describe your job with the Office of Greenways and Trails

As OGT's graphic designer, my primary focus is creating captivating marketing materials to help further Florida's recreational experience. I create social media graphics, format and create the layout for our Statewide Comprehension Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), Park Planning public meeting graphics, and various other digitally-illustrated designs.

What are the favorite parts of the job?

My aim out of college was to work for an organization I supported, while doing what I'm passionate about, which is creating. I admire the community of like-minded people I encounter and really have the privilege of working beside and getting to know them on a daily basis. I enjoy the freedom of my creativity, but more so the input of my peers who don't have the same creative perspective as I do, being able to see a range of POV's of all ages.

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Hiking

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

My favorite is the Wacissa River State Trail, since I grew up in this area, I was constantly on the water swimming and paddling. It is always so peaceful out there.

What advice would you offer to anyone who wants to explore this trail?

I'd offer you some bug spray and sunscreen! Learn different types of bugs and snakes that are around the area, so you are aware of what you may come across!


Kate Spratt works for the Division of Recreation & Parks

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Running

Please define your relationship with state-managed trails

I recreate at one.

Which Trail?

Withlacoochee State Trail

What is your favorite part of this greenway or trail?

The trail has multiple points of entry which makes it convenient to change your scenery with each run. Every run is different. Sometimes I see gopher tortoises, deer or other wildlife and other times I simply enjoy the solitude of the woods around me. My favorite part is the different natural communities the trail passes through and how those recreating on the trail can see the transition of those natural landscapes from end to end. 

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

Always hydrate well before, during and after your trail use. Much of the trail is shaded but it doesn't take long to get thirsty! Also, be courteous to others using the trail. Using passing vocabulary to others and staying on the right of the trail ensures that everyone can safely use the same space regardless of their mode of recreation. 


Charles Austion II works for the Office of Greenways and Trails

Describe your job with the Office of Greenways and Trails

I assist with the creation and implementation of the statewide outdoor recreation initiative. Additionally, I assist where ever I can within OGT.

What are the favorite parts of the job?

Gaining useful knowledge that I can use later in my career.

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Paddling

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

Capital City to the Sea Trail

What advice would you offer to anyone who wants to explore this trail?

They need to know that there are pedestrians and bikes in the trail. No motorized vehicles. Also, bring water, it's long.


Alli Jones works for the Division of Recreation & Parks 

Please define your relationship with state-managed trails

I recreate at one.

Which Trail?

Tallahassee to St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Bicycle

What is your favorite part of this greenway or trail?

It passes some very pretty properties and wooded areas. It's well maintained, quiet, and peaceful. It's also great for meeting people.

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

It crosses several roads, some are more heavily traveled while some are just dirt roads. There are only a few facilities along the trail, so bring water. There is plenty of shade. At night there may be bears and an occasional person sleeping on a bench.


Tate Miller works for Grand Gables Inn

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Running

Describe your organization

We are a world class, full service Bed and Breakfast. This year we were given Trip Advisors Travelers Choice Award, placing us in the top 10% of all lodging worldwide. In 1884, the property was described as "perhaps the most palatial home in all Florida'. Visit and tour this jaw-dropping home to see the tunnel and its 35 foot observation tower. Rooms can be rented one by one or you can book the entire Inn. 

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

Palatka Trail west of town

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

The trailhead is off a pull-out parking lot about 1 mile west of town. 


John Andrew Kilmer works for the Division of Recreation & Parks

Please define your relationship with state-managed trails

I recreate at one.

Which Trail?

Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Hiking

What is your favorite part of this greenway or trail?

Real Florida = sandhills and scrub, especially where I can see scrub jays!

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

There aren't many areas where a loop is possible, mostly out and back hikes on the same trail or a parallel trail due to the narrow nature of the greenway. Plan accordingly!


Justin Baldwin works for the Office of Greenways & Trails

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Running

Describe your job with the Office of Greenways and Trails

My job is to implement the 2019 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) and to coordinate development of the 2023 SCORP. The aim of this plan is to identify outdoor recreation trends and demand across the state, as well as determine if supply is meeting that demand for both residents and tourists of the state. I also help out with greenway related projects as needed.

What are the favorite parts of the job?

My favorite part of the job is when new greenways get put on the ground! I also really enjoy helping people plan vacations around outdoor recreation and utilizing the Florida Greenways and Trails System. Providing guidance to communities interested in becoming a Trail Town is also one of my favorite parts of this job!

Which is your favorite greenway or trail? 

My favorite trail is the Torreya Challenge Trail at Torreya State Park. I really like this trail because of it's unique ecology and difficult terrain. The loop trail also offers a primitive campsite about half way through.

What advice would you offer to anyone who wants to explore this trail?

Be prepared to commit to this trail! There are no spur trails to take you back to safety. Before heading out, know your limitations and pack accordingly. Besides that, enjoy the scenery!


Bre Ximenes works for the Division of Recreation & Parks

Please define your relationship with state-managed trails

I manage or work at one.

Which Trail?

Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway

What is your favorite part of this greenway or trail?

I love this park not only for the 320 miles of trail options it has for hikers, bikers and equestrians... but it's sheer size and history.

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Mountain Bike

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

Santos trails

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

Bring water... more water than you think you'll need.  You can fill up your hydration pack and water bottles before you head out on the trails at the Santos trail head. The next stop for water is at Landbridge trailhead 6 to 10 miles away based on the trails you take, so bring water and snacks... you'll be happy you did!


Mike Middlebrook works for the St. Lucie County Environmental Resources Department

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Walking

Describe your organization

St. Lucie County Environmental Resources Department is responsible for managing over 13,000 acres of public conservation land and over 42 miles of trail. The Department is also responsible for developing the County's Greenways and Trails Master Plan to provide connectivity between three (3) municipalities to the County's open space corridors, parks, preserves, and greenspace. 

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

East Coast Greenway

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

St. Lucie County is currently working with the Florida Department of Transportation and State of Florida's SUN Trail Network to develop 18 miles of the East Coast Greenway. The trail will connect two (2) city downtown centers, three (3) State Parks, a local freshwater Savannas marsh system, the Indian River Lagoon, local beaches, and countless parks and preserves. The East Coast Greenway in St. Lucie County will also serve as the trail backbone for an additional planned 60 miles of local trail. 


Rachel Nunlist works for the Division of Recreation & Parks

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Walking

Please define your relationship with state-managed trails

I manage or work at one.

Which Trail?

General James A. Van Fleet State Trail

What is your favorite part of this greenway or trail?

It's remote location and incredible density and diversity of wildlife.

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

The Van Fleet State Trail is a 30-mile paved linear trail that spans Polk, Lake and Sumter counties. It's really important to come prepared regardless if you're biking or walking/running. Please make sure you have plenty of water and if you're a biker, a spare tube or two in your kit. There are 4 trail heads to park at and each has a bathroom and water fountain nearby. This trail is very remote and there are many areas where you will not have cell service. Be ready to see lots of great wildlife such as alligators, gopher tortoises, several types of snakes and maybe even a bobcat or two!



John Hamilton works for the Division of Recreation & Parks

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Mountain Biking

Please define your relationship with state-managed trails

I recreate at one

Which Trail?

Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway

What is your favorite part of this greenway or trail?

The section spanning from Ross Prairie Trailhead to Santos Trailhead.

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

Be in good physical condition, comfortable being in more remote areas away from facilities, bring water and snacks.


Mark Heinicke works for Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Bicycling

Describe your organization

Local Government

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

Rickenbacker Trail

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

Rickenbacker Trail is a 8.5-mile long trail with super views of Biscayne Bay and the City of Miami skyline.  It's one of the most popular trails in Miami. I love the big hill riding up and down the William Powell bridge and connections to Virginia Key and Crandon Park.


Richard Hamilton works for Scenic A1A Pride

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Bicycling

Describe your organization

A1A Pride promotes and protects the A1A corridor in Flagler County, advises the County Commission on issues, and represents Flagler County on the Scenic A1A committee for the 72 mile national scenic byway that runs from Ponte Vedra to Flagler Beach.

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

The safe off-road paved trail (Scenic A1A/Flagler County A1A Bike Path) lets us enjoy a family-friendly experience with many options for distance and time spent. The trail traverses 19 miles of Flagler County and parallels the Atlantic Ocean along A1A from Marineland at the north to Flagler Beach at the south end. Cyclists, hikers or walkers enjoy breathtaking views of cinnamon colored beaches or wind under the old Oak Canopy. There is even an educational element at various historical points along the way. There are lots of parking spaces and facilities along the route including rest stops with covered pavilions, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, and historical sites. Safety is provided for in the fully paved, relatively flat, off street route, and much of the trail is covered by tree shade. The Malacompra mountain bike trail provides an opportunity for the more adventurous. Depending on your time, the trail also grants access to many other additional trails, including City of Palm Coast, Lehigh trail, or north to Saint Augustine.

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

There are many parking options to begin or end the journey at several State and County parks, including Marineland, River to Sea, Washington Oaks,  Bings Landing,  MalaCompra Beach, Varn Park Beach, Flagler Beach and others. These can provide amenities such as restroom, Nature trails, Beach Access, showers, Bocce, playgrounds and much more.   Because of the many access and amenities options, you should review the trail maps and determine your preferred experience, time and distance on the trail. The trail is family friendly, is point to point or can be made into a loop through Palm Coast ( no concern with getting lost)  with clearly marked beach and intercoastal waterway access.  As always on any trail it is advised to take precautions against sun and thirst.  


Mark Manning works for the Division of Recreation & Parks

Please define your relationship with state-managed trails

I manage or work at one.

Which Trail?

Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail

What is your favorite part of this greenway or trail?

Trail users have lots of opportunity to see wildlife and plant life along the path. They are also out of harm’s way and are able to recreate and exercise in an aesthetic corridor.

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

Be mindful of where you park, and make sure you have all the essentials, water, bug spray, sun protection, etc.


Pat Northey is a greenway user who prefers to run, but also enjoys bicycling

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

St. Johns River to Sea Loop

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

It traverses both rural and urban sections of the trail. It has great trail heads with lots of parking and facilitates.


Robert Seidler is a Florida greenways and trails user

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

Coastal Trail in Wakulla County

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

How to have fun!


Shawn Thomas works for the U.S. Forest Service

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Walking

Describe your organization

Federal partner and Florida National Scenic Trail Administrator.

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

Florida National Scenic Trail

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

The Florida Trail is an exploration into natural Florida, allowing visitors to traverse a vast array of natural communities highlighting some of the most scenic areas found anywhere but proper planning is essential. Florida Trail users should be prepared with plenty of water, sun protection, bug repellant, a good map, and be sure to check notices for the area you plan to visit. Conditions may often be wet and challenging but the rewards are lasting memories. 


Tina Russo works for the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Bicycle

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

Starkey Gap Trail

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

There are several connections, it is a multi use path along a road way. Bring lots of water.


Gallus Quigley works for the Lake County Office of Parks & Trails

What is your preferred mode of recreation?

Walking

Describe your organization

We operate and maintain over 50 properties and 20 miles of multi-use trail across Lake County.

Which is your favorite greenway or trail?

South Lake Trail/Coast to Coast Trail

What does a visitor need to know before they can explore this trail?

The Waterfront Park area in Clermont is always very busy, so stay alert. Sections are very hilly for Florida, so expect a workout. I enjoy walking at Waterfront Park Trailhead, great place for a walk and to play Pokemon. You can take the new Legacy Loop Trail up into downtown for wine, beer, or food. Restrooms get locked at 7PM so be aware of that. Trail is lit for evening use.


Greenway Volunteers

Trail Volunteers
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Last Modified:
November 10, 2020 - 11:13am

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