FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 16, 2014
NEW STATE TRAIL SEGMENT AND BRIDGE OPENS IN DUNNELLON
This is a major step toward connecting the Withlacoochee State
Trail and the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway.
DUNNELLON – The Florida Department
of Environmental Protection's Florida Park Service celebrated the
opening of a multi-use trail and bridge in Dunnellon today. This new trail and bridge
brings the state within two miles of connecting the Withlacoochee State Trail
to the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway.
“People who enjoy Florida's scenic beauty will appreciate this new trail and bridge in Dunnellon,” said DEP's Deputy Secretary of Land and Recreation, Katy Fenton. “Hikers, bicyclists and other trail users
will find this trail connects them to local facilities. Florida’s greenways and
trails provide recreational value, tourism and economic impact for our state
and these local communities. Providing more access to state parks and outdoor
recreation is a priority for the department.”
The 280-foot bridge spans the Withlacoochee
River. The 12-foot wide, 2.4 mile paved trail features two trailheads; one in
Citrus County and one in Marion County. The construction was made possible with
funding from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives
Program through the Florida Department of Transportation and the 2009 American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This project began in October 2012.
The Cross Florida Greenway is a key
component of the Heart of Florida Loop, a multi-county regional greenway network,
which is part of the larger statewide Florida Greenways and Trails Priority System.
Connected trails provide recreational, economic, alternative transportation and
quality of life benefits to local communities.
The Withlacoochee State Trail:
- Comprises 46
miles, crossing Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties, making it the longest
paved rail-trail in Florida;
- Is flat and with
many access points, provides cycling, running, walking, skating and
unpaved equestrian trail opportunities;
- Is a National
Recreation Trail®, offering rich opportunities for viewing wildlife; and
- Last year, welcomed
nearly 382,000 visitors, with a direct economic impact of more than $16.6
The Marjorie Harris Carr Cross
- Comprises 110
miles and 70,000 acres as it crosses Central Florida from the Gulf of
Mexico to the St. Johns River;
- Occupies much of
the land formerly known as the Cross Florida Ship, and later, Barge Canal
- Provides hiking,
biking, equestrian and paddling trails, boat ramps, fishing spots,
campgrounds, and a barrier-free Boundless Playground; and
- Last year,
welcomed nearly 999,000 visitors, with a direct economic impact of more
than $46 million.
Rainbow Springs State Park:
- Comprises 1,471
acres in Marion County;
- Includes Rainbow
Spring, the fourth largest spring in Florida;
- Encompasses Rainbow
River, which is popular for swimming, tubing, snorkeling and canoeing;
- Offers a full-facility campground with overnight camping opportunities; and
Welcomed more than 269,000 visitors last year, with a direct economic impact of
more than. $12.5 million.