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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us


~DEP encourages Floridians to celebrate the outdoors with a nature hike~

Hikers on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway

Hikers enjoy the outdoors on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway.

(Photo by Diane Dammiller, Florida Trail Association)

TALLAHASSEE - Governor Rick Scott has proclaimed February as Florida Hiking Trails Month, recognizing the importance of this healthy, affordable outdoor activity and inviting Floridians and visitors to enjoy a hike along the state’s extensive, nationally recognized trail system. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida Park Service, along the Florida Trail Association (FTA) invites citizens and visitors to take advantage of the scenic beauty offered by Florida’s outstanding system of trails.
"February is the perfect time to take advantage of cooler temperatures and enjoy a quiet walk or an invigorating hike on a Florida trail,” said DEP’s Florida Park Service Director Donald V. Forgione. “With the support of the Florida Trail Association and many statewide partners, Florida created a system of greenways and trails that make it easy and affordable for people to access the beautiful green spaces that naturally call us outdoors this time of year.”
Florida Hiking Trails Month is designed to emphasize fun and fitness along scenic and diverse trails--from urban trails in the midst of cityscapes to wilderness trails that run through Florida’s award-winning state parks. Florida has a vast network of trails that includes more than 2,500 miles of dedicated hiking trails and several thousand more miles of multi-use, recreational trails. Florida trails promote healthier lifestyles as well as nature-based tourism and economic benefits for the state.
The largest in the state, the Florida National Scenic Trail, is a path that will ultimately extend 1,400 miles from the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Panhandle all the way to the Florida Keys. As one of 11 congressionally-designated scenic trails in the United States, this national treasure links public lands throughout Florida. The FTA encourages Floridians to take part in this celebration by exploring the Florida National Scenic Trail and the many hiking trails it provides in parks and forests throughout Florida.
“These sections of the Florida Trail were built and have been maintained by FTA volunteers for decades, in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and our many land managing partners for the benefit of all Americans,” said Dennis Miranda, Executive Director of the FTA. “Hiking Trails Month gives us an opportunity to celebrate our public lands by hiking, walking, observing wildlife or simply enjoying our natural heritage on a safe and well marked paths.”
For ideas in planning your own hiking trips, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org, http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/ and, for additional travel-related information, explore Visit Florida’s trails website http://www.visitflorida.com/trails/. For more information about the Florida National Scenic Trail and a wide range of activities planned to celebrate Florida Hiking Trails Month, look for the FTA chapter nearest you at www.floridatrail.org.