Titusville, located along Florida’s East Coast, was designated
Florida's second official Trail Town at the June 2018 Florida Greenways
and Trails Council meeting.
Titusville sits at the convergence of three long-distance trails
- Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail, East Coast Greenway and the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop. The town's steps to
becoming a Trail Town included forming a trails committee, spearheading efforts
to build a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over their busiest thoroughfare, Garden
Street, revamping downtown streets to be more bicyclist/pedestrian friendly,
and opening a new visitor center in 2017 that includes a bike shop inside.
An eight-minute video produced by the town shows their Trail Town evolution.
“We could not be more proud and excited about being designated
Florida’s second Trail Town by the Department of Environmental
Protection," said Mayor Walt Johnson. “The city recognizes the economic
impact and importance of becoming a Trail Town. We continue to work diligently
to become the premier destination and Trail Town in the state. Our
downtown merchants are excited and beginning to see the increase in their
businesses by those trail users who eat, shop, and enjoy our unique
DEP’s Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT) encourages interested
communities to conduct self-assessments to gauge their strengths and weaknesses
in relation to nearby trails and users. Trail Town candidates fill out an application and are then considered for approval by the
legislatively-established Florida Greenways and Trails Council. To recognize
Florida’s Trail Towns, designated Trail Towns are featured on the OGT website and given metal signs that can be placed at trailheads and town
gateways along with stickers for the windows of businesses.
this designation by taking strong steps over the years to become more
pedestrian and bicycle friendly," said Doug Alderson, OGT Assistant Bureau
Chief. “We hope many more towns will follow their footprints.”
By Eric Draper, Florida Park Service Director
When it comes to Florida trails, there’s a lot to be excited about,
especially the opening of a new section of the Florida
National Scenic Trail in Big Shoals State Park.
This newly added three-mile section of trail between Osceola
National Forest and the town of White Springs eliminated five miles of road
walking. This kind of connection is the best investment we can make. The full
promise of trails is realized when they link different places together.
I’m reminded of a story a friend told me about the Tanglefoot
Trail, which links the
Mississippi towns of Pontotoc and Houston. There was an elderly man named Ron who
lived in Pontotoc. Ron had not seen a childhood friend for many years because
the friend lived in Houston and neither of them had cars. When Tanglefoot Trail
opened in 2013, residents of Pontotoc and Houston could easily cycle between
the two towns instead of braving narrow, winding rural roads. His son bought Ron
a bicycle, and Ron joined a growing renaissance in the relationship between the
two small towns and reconnected with his childhood friend.
What really surprised me was that the distance between the two
towns was over 20 miles, but the trail and a community cycling club had
generated so much enthusiasm that people of all ages were using it. It
connected the towns and their residents and provided a fitness opportunity as
That’s what trails do. They connect us, improving our lives and
our health. The designation of Dunedin and recently Titusville as Florida Trail
Towns shows that communities of all sizes are investing in trails and
recognizing the real benefits and opportunities they offer to citizens.
I’m proud of the work that our staff, volunteers, legislators,
and partners like the Florida Trail Association are doing to make sure that we’re more
connected every day.
By Paul Haydt, East Coast
Greenway Florida Coordinator
The East Coast Greenway (ECG) spine route extends 3,000 miles from
Maine to Florida. The Florida segment will be the longest trail in any
state along the route, spanning 600 miles from Fernandina Beach to Key West.
Of the planned 600 miles of off-road trails, over 200 miles are
finished and completely off-road. This year, over 25 new miles of trail in four
different counties are scheduled to be completed.
One of the highest priorities for the Florida East Coast Greenway
is the 20-mile Florida City Gap between Miami and Key Largo, where the current
on-road travel route is along busy U.S. Highway 1. When the Florida City Gap safe
off-road trail is completed, the already completed 35 miles of ECG route
between Miami Beach and Homestead — the state’s largest metropolitan area — will
be connected to the 106-mile Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, part of the ECG and one of the world's most recognized natural
resource and recreational destinations. With major airports along the route,
completion of this 20-mile trail gap will open tourism markets to accomplished
cyclists and a wide range of walkers, hikers and cyclists.
The city of Jacksonville’s 50-mile loop trail project, the Core 2 Coast Loop, is one of the most exciting ECG trail developments to emerge in
the last year. Jacksonville issued a proposal for the loop to be added into the
ECG spine route. What makes this project so valuable and attractive to the
ECG is that the trail will enhance both north bank and south bank developments
along the St. Johns River. It will connect through major industrial and
business redevelopment areas of the city associated with the Jacksonville
Jaguar Stadium area and support long-desired community enhancement and
redevelopment efforts in some of Jacksonville's older neighborhoods.
In support of Jacksonville and to highlight and add momentum to
its Core 2 Coast Loop Trail Program, the East
Coast Greenway Alliance
has selected Jacksonville to host the 2019 Second Biannual Southeast Greenways
and Trails Summit. The program will provide a stage for Florida and
Jacksonville to showcase the tremendous ongoing trail efforts as well as
present the trail industry and trail managers the opportunity to demonstrate
trail techniques and materials that will guide the efforts.
A new 12-mile segment of the Coastal Trail, a
component segment of the Capital City to the Sea Trails plan in Wakulla County, is now open for use.
This paved multi-use trail winds through
trees along the wide right-of-way of U.S. 98 from the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State
Trail to Wakulla High
School. Two other Coastal Trail segments are currently being designed
and are funded for construction in the next two to four years. The Ochlockonee Bay Bike Trail will connect the coastal village of Panacea
to Wakulla High School. A three-mile segment running east of the
Tallahassee-St. Marks Trail to Lighthouse Road is currently being designed.
"This clearly demonstrates how a project can be completed
from planning to construction in five years," said Jack Kostrzewa,
Planning Manager of the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency (CRTPA). "The CRTPA Board needs to
be commended for committing their own funds for the environmental study, design
and construction of the Coastal Trail. They are truly a group of elected
officials who know what it takes to get positive results in a short period
of time. We are all excited about this trail and future construction from
Wakulla High School to Surf Road."
Kostrzewa also credited the Florida Greenways and Trails System Plan, coordinated by the Office of Greenways
and Trails, and the Florida Department of Transportation's Shared-Use Nonmotorized (SUN) Trail Program for helping to make the vision come to
fruition. A ribbon cutting for the segment will be held in October.
It is not too early to prepare for exciting trail events in the fall since many require advance registration. A few are listed here, but be sure to check out the OGT online calendar for more.
September 29: National Public Lands Day and Bike Your Park Day
October 3-7: Hidden Coast Paddling Adventure in Cedar Key
October 5-7: Florida Trail Association National Trails Festival, DeLand
October 19-24: Paddle Florida's Suwannee River Wilderness Trail
October 20-21: Gainesville Cycling Festival
November 1-4: Paddle Florida Flagler Coastal Wildlife Experience
November 9-10: Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association Fall Fat Tire Weekend and Meeting, Deland
November 15-17: St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Summit, Palatka