A Guide to the National Parks of Florida

Bill Reynolds has been with the national parks service for a decade, and has visited a ton of them—particularly in Florida. It’s fair to say the spokesman is a super-fan. Of the famed Everglades, he crows, “If the National Parks are America’s crown jewels, the Everglades are some of the shiniest!” But it’s not the only gem in the Sunshine State. Florida’s...

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20 tons of trash cleaned from Apalachicola National Forest in just one weekend

Volunteers removed more than 20 tons of garbage from the Apalachicola National Forest recently. But forest officials say the problem of illegal dumping, of sometimes hazardous materials, continues to grow. Along Highway 319 in Leon and Wakulla counties, near Tallahassee, Florida, volunteers, National Forest staff and others fanned out into the sometimes thick underbrush....

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Explore SW Florida history at Buckingham Trails Preserve

Lee County, Florida Parks & Recreation invites visitors and residents to explore the new hiking and equestrian trails at Conservation 20/20’s Buckingham Trails Preserve located in east Fort Myers. The preserve provides a newly built parking area and trail system totaling more than 7 miles. There are 2.3 miles of hiking trails and 4.8 miles for both horseback riding...

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Work to Start On Hiking Path Near Fort Meade, FL

Later this month, crews will begin carving a 2.6-mile tree-shaded hiking path out of the wilderness along the Peace River near Fort Meade. And when the Peace River Trail is finished about four months from now, city leaders in Fort Meade are hoping it will become a magnet for visitors to their community. “I think people are going to come here and walk the trail, and...

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Divers Remove 90,000 Tires from Ocean Floor in Florida

Divers in helmets have begun walking the ocean floor off Fort Lauderdale to clear an environmental catastrophe that’s rested among the coral reefs for more than 40 years. An estimated 700,000 tires were dropped into the ocean off Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in the early 1970s in a failed attempt to create an artificial reef. At the time, before anyone had figured out...

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Florida Isn’t The Only State Where Officials Censored The Term ‘Climate Change’

It may have seemed surprising when four former employees of Florida’s state Department of Environmental Protection said they were forbidden to use the words “climate change” and “global warming” in any official communications. But as it turns out, the alleged practice is not unusual — at least in states with governors who do not accept the scientific validity of...

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Florida looks to a private company to sell advertisements on state trails

To add insult to injury: after the State of Florida decided it was okay to sell advertising on state trails, they discovered no one wanted to buy it. So they’re talking to a New York firm about running the program – and the NY firm will keep 70% of all profit generated. The state is negotiating with a private company to take over a park sponsorship program...

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Big O Hike, a Lake Okeechobee holiday tradition

Every Thanksgiving week since 1991, a group of hardy souls — from elementary-school age to octogenarians — have embarked on a one-of-a-kind, nine-day hiking adventure circling Lake Okeechobee. And this past holiday was no different. More than 100 people signed up for all or part of the 2013 Big O Hike, which began Nov. 23 and concluded Dec. 1, and was hosted by the...

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Floridians don’t need hills to know thrills of hiking

Would you like a cool way to raise your metabolism? Take up hiking. Summer in Florida is too hot and humid for long walks in the woods. But we’re now coming into the best season of the year to explore the state’s many nature trails. We know that regular exercise increases the body’s calorie-burning capacity. We also know that adding muscle increases...

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Hiking reveals subtle charm of Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area

There was nothing subtle about the change a dozen hikers stepped into from shady pinewoods to open palmetto prairie in the Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area about 15 miles west of West Melbourne. On a recent trek guided by Tony Flohre of the Indian River chapter of the Florida Trail Association, the group was able to enjoy the beauty of the area’s two dominant...

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For more than two decades, Lantana retiree has been working to clear Florida’s hiking trails

When you’re a trailblazer, it’s an early-to-bed, early-to-rise life. Just ask Bea Rogers, trail coordinator for the Loxahatchee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association. The rugged outdoorswoman laces up her hiking shoes before dawn each morning for a 2-mile trek around her Lantana neighborhood — that is if she’s not clearing trails somewhere else. That somewhere else,...

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US, South Florida planners propose biking, hiking trails to traverse the Everglades

One day, if all goes according to an ambitious plan now in the works, people will be able to cycle or walk all the way from Miami to Everglades City and Naples on wide, paved trails that link together national parks, nature preserves, campgrounds and tourist attractions. It may take a generation to finish, but the National Park Service and planners in Miami-Dade...

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Booklet outlines ocean to lake hiking trail in Florida

Veteran hiker Dean Drake of the Florida Trail Association recently completed a booklet describing the Ocean to Lake Trail — a hiking trail that stretches 65 miles from Hobe Sound Beach to the dike on Lake Okeechobee. The 39-page booklet titled “Walking the Ocean to Lake Hiking Trail” includes a map, photographs, historical tidbits, descriptions of the land, background on...

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Apalachicola National Forest

The Apalachicola National Forest is the largest National Forest in Florida, sweeping around the southern edge of Tallahassee. Botanical beauty and wilderness draw hikers and other enthusiasts to the vast trail systems, including a lengthy segment of the Florida Trail between Sopchoppy and Bristol. Home to the fabled Bradwell Bay, the Apalachicola is also the place to see...

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